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August 15, 2008

Knowshon Moreno to Return Punts?

Image: Hipple

Knowshon Moreno is being looked at as the punt returner for the Georgia Bulldogs in 2008. The upside is obvious. If you have a Ferrari, don't keep it in the garage. The downside is possible injury.

It's important to note that an elite punt returner in the SEC typically gets less than 35 punt returns (non-fair catches) in a season. Over a 12 game season, that's less than three returns per game. I looked at the Top 10 Punt Returners (avg yards/return) over the past five years, and it was extremely uncommon to find a guy that had more than 35 returns in a season.

In my opinion, if he's our best guy for the job. Play him there.

Playing Your Best
Consider that Auburn's Carnell "Cadillac" Williams was third in the SEC in punt return yards per attempt as a senior in 2004. He returned 22 punts for 251 yards. He was also used on Kickoffs at times as a junior and senior. Also, Darren McFadden had 316 yards in kickoff returns in 2007, and a similar number in 2006. His numbers might have been higher, but Arkansas used Felix Jones heavily in that position as well. The point being...two of the best running backs in the SEC since Bo and Herschel were both used on special teams.

Dabbling in Punt Returns
You can be more "situational" in using a guy on kickoff return than the punt return team. You need more repetition in fielding punts in extreme traffic versus a kickoff return where you've got a second or two before you have the first collision.

In fact, Texas lost a national championship in 1983 when they subbed their best punt returner for their best player on the final punt return of the season. The non-regular punt returner (his first attempt of the year) fumbled, and UGA beat Texas a few plays after recovering the fumble (video of the moment).

I think it makes a ton of sense to go with Knowshon versus wearing Asher Allen out on Punt Returns and Kickoff Returns. That's an option that Richt says he's not interested in.

The other candidates are Logan Gray (backup QB) and Carlton Thomas (freshman). My favorite of those options is Knowshon with Carlton Thomas mixed in later in games. Give them both some snaps at the gig. (Just not so few that neither gets good at it)



DAve said...

As I mentioned over at the Senator's site, I don't think our situation is comparable with Auburn/Arkansas because Auburn had two experienced rb's in Cadillac and Brown and Arky had two in McFadden and Jones. We have one.

Using Moreno last year (while Brown was healthy) would have made more sense to me.

Quinton McDawg said...

I'm against it. Go watch Keenan Burton putting Mikey Henderson out of the Sugar Bowl with a cheap shot. I wouldn't want to expose our most talented offensive player to that kind of thing.

Anonymous said...

Boss. Bailey.

Anonymous said...

The problem I have with it is that on punt returns, there are usually at least two guys running full speed at the returner. The punt returner has much less reaction time. This allows for massive hits and higher chance for injury.

Does Richt really want to have to explain an injury to Knowshon that occured fielding punts? I can see using him when we really need to make something happen but not all the time.

Besides, I don't understand why we'd rather get Knowshon tired from fielding punts than Asher Allen. Allen gets to go to the sideline for a little while immediately afterward.

dawgnotdog said...

So Stan, you are saying to take all of our starters off of all of our special teams?

Then our special teams will really suck.

Boss was an upback who tore up his knee without being hit.

The Henderson argument is much more appropriate.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Mikey Henderson. That's the reason not to do this on a consistent basis...with the only exception being when we really need a spark.

dean said...

I don't know if you've seen my response to your comment over at Senator Blurtarsky's site but if I misquoted you then I apologize. I was using the rough average for a worse case scenario situation. Just as CMR mentioned about tiring out Asher Allen that would be my concern with Moreno returning punts. You don't want to put too many miles on that Ferrari.

SteveODawg said...

Personally, I think its about getting him some more stats for a Heisman run than anything else. We have enough talent on the team to run back punts than risk our best offensive player. What about King or Green?

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