Bumped. Welcome back 66. GO BRUINS. -N
Austin receiving a punt. Photo Credit: dabruins07 (flickr)
To me, the key for this year will be whether we can force the other team to start each of its offensive series deep in its own territory. Said another way, we will need to play "field position football".
It's something we did not do, last year -- and we paid for it, dearly.
For the last couple of years, often to disprove the fallacy that the offense was on the field so little time that the defense got tired, I looked very carefully at the drive charts of each game. As some of my prior posts, and those of Fox, show -- the D often came out and gave up yards from the very first time it was on the field. I don't want to revisit that debate.
But, the one thing that was clear from those drive charts was that the D rarely came on the field with the opposition pinned back in its own territory. Quite to the contrary. The D was often faced with an opponent starting out somewhere between its own 30 and 40 yard line, or because of turnovers, somewhere in our territory. With great field position, our opponents could open up their offenses in ways they would not were they starting out inside their own 20 yard lines.
I think the most disappointing cause for this was our absolute inability to kick off into the end zone. With kicks fielded on the 10 or 15, our opponents often got returns between the 30 and 40. It wasn't bad coverage -- a ball kicked to the one and returned 15 or 20 yards would be just fine with me. More after the jump.
So, step one on our path to a better season needs to be using our kicks as weapons not invitations to meet us somewhere near mid-field.
Enough has been said about our inability to move the ball consistently last year -- and our inability to keep it. We will be much better this year and this, too, will be a key to our season.
I really don't expect an explosive, high scoring offense. I expect an adequate offense.
But, if our offense and special teams can give our D decent starting field position, I think we will be in most games.
And, if we are in them, I expect to win some that the outsiders predict we will lose.
PS. Sorry, I've just not had the time to go back and do the empirical research to support this post -- so it is a commentary rather than a report. I would have preferred to come with numbers, which is the BN way, but I've been way too busy to do my research. And, I wanted to warm up my fingers. It's been a while since I've posted and I have to get the hang of doing it, again. Summer is over. It's time to rock.