Year in review: Ups, downs for specialists
December, 7, 2012
By Austin Ward | ESPN.com
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A position-by-position look at a perfect season for Ohio State, wrapping up today by rewinding to look at the kicking game and a group of special-teams contributors that were stretched by injury during a roller coaster campaign.
- Most valuable player: Roles on special teams just aren't handed out under Urban Meyer, though that doesn't change the fact they're valuable proving grounds for players looking to make an impression, as the Ohio State coach is so heavily involved with the kicking game. It also doesn't just apply to younger players, since it was junior Corey "Philly" Brown's explosive contributions on punt return that seemingly helped his role on offense expand as the season progressed and the Buckeyes gained even more confidence in his ability to make something happen with the football in his hands. Meyer had been somewhat critical of Brown's ability to make defenders miss early in the season, but his 76-yard punt return against Nebraska helped seal a blowout victory and signaled that the wide receiver was turning a corner as a playmaker.
- By the numbers: Good luck finding a more successful punt return unit than the one Meyer rolled out in his first season with the program. On four different occasions with an opponent trying to kick the ball away and swing field position, the Buckeyes decisively flipped the momentum instead with touchdowns. Brown returned two punts for scores, cornerback Bradley Roby pounced on a mishandled snap for a touchdown and also recovered a ball that had been blocked by Travis Howard for another trip to the end zone in a productive season for that unit -- one that Meyer will expect even more out of next year.
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