Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Oklahoma position grades: Special teams
By SoonerNation Staff
Before the Sooners' 31-14 win over Iowa in the Insight Bowl, Jake Trotter and Brandon Chatmon analyzed each Oklahoma position group. Now, the SoonerNation staff is giving each position a grade for its performance in 2011.
Grade: B+ This unit exceeded expectations, but still has a ways to go in several areas. The Sooners, who haven’t had a touchdown return off a kickoff since 2007, failed again to break off big gains in the return game. But Michael Hunnicutt, who made all four kicks longer than 40 yards, stabilized OU’s field goal kicking, which had been anything but stable since ’07.
- Jake Trotter
Freshman Michael Hunnicutt has stabilized Oklahoma's future at kicker.
Grade: A Punter Tress Way and kicker Hunnicutt were a solid kicking duo. Way averaged 42.1 yards per punt and buried 34 of his punts inside the opponents’ 20-yard line. Hunnicutt made 21 of 24 field goal attempts while going 4 of 4 on kicks longer than 40 yards. OU’s coverage teams were solid so only the Sooners’ lack of big plays on kick and punt returns keeps this from being an A+.
- Brandon Chatmon
Grade: B+ Not nearly the problem that this has been in the past. The kicking game, especially, was a huge improvement as Michael Hunnicutt had a great year as the placekicker. He has been so good that the Sooners are not actively pursuing a kicker for the 2012 class. Punter Tress Way had 34 of his 63 punts inside the 20 yard line. The only downside was the return game as OU lacked any excitement at all in this area throughout the season.
- Bob Przybylo
Grade: B+ Oklahoma's special teams were solid, but not spectacular, particularly in the return game. Hunnicutt was nothing short of a revelation and he should stabilize the kicker position for the next three seasons. But the Sooners still had no dynamic returns -- on punt or kickoff -- and were never a threat to block a kick.
- Dane Beavers