Thinking back to preseason, had I been told that heading into Knoxville we would be 3-2, 2-1...I probably would not have been too surprised. Disappointed still? Sure. But given the questions as we entered the Georgia Dome that would've definitely been within my realm of belief system.
But now we are given the luxury of five games to reflect upon. One horrible display of football, one dreadfully painful loss to a bitter foe, two wins against inferior teams and a pretty impressive win against a team that beat us last season. I think it's a good time look back and discuss a couple things I'd like to see going forward. So I'll tackle one each of the next three days.
Today's edition is devoted to...
This is an area of highs and lows so far. But overall Coach Lilly has some work to do. Kickoffs are great and punting is even better than last year (yeh seriously, like 3 yards a punt better). But punt return and FG kicking are well below par. Boykin's nearly 11 yards per return is good but really could be more. On a positive note the punt return saw it's best game against MSU.
Five games in I'd like to see Boykin back there every time, and it appears we will. If the other team rugby styles the punt like Ole Miss did then leave Smith on the sideline and devote another guy to blocking. Some of Boykin's returns have been just a half block away from going the distance.
And the missed field goals...
Blair Walsh will get this figured out. That I'm sure of. If Bogotay were the answer to this question we would've seen him kicking field goals long ago. So we all just need to face it that we're going to have to live through this rough patch with Walsh. I've watched him at halftime the last two games and there was a dramatic improvement this Saturday compared to what I saw in Oxford.
That being said, something has the man off kilter. It's always easier to get thrown off than to get back on. So whether it's a different regimen, breathing through his right eyelid, meeting the worm at the bottom of a bottle the night before or Blutarsky's Tin Cup scenario...it'd be nice to get this fixed before one of these misses hangs heavier in the balance.
The punt return team is really hard to gauge with all the rugby style kicks we've seen. The rest of the country knows that Boykin and Smith are a threat EVERY TIME they touch the ball and have kicked accordingly. That being said, fake punts for TDs are a problem.
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