13 Days Until Spring Practice: Special Teams Efficiency

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Today marks 13 days until spring practice begins. Today we’ll focus on Tech’s special teams efficiency since 2007, and try to project how good they will be in 2015.

All of the special teams rankings come from FootballOutsiders.com. Overall special teams rankings are calculated by using six different categories, which are listed below.

Here’s your key…

FGE: Field Goal Efficiency
PRE: Punt Return Efficiency
KRE: Kick Return Efficiency
PE: Punt Efficiency
KE: Kickoff Efficiency
OFGE: Opponent Field Goal Efficiency

Let’s take a closer look at each season from 2007 through 2014…

2007: #1 overall, #31 FGE, #26 PRE, #22 KRE, #30 PE, #1 KE, #104 OFGE

To attain the #1 ranking in special teams, it’s important to be efficient across the board. The Hokies were in 2007, with the exception of opponent field goal efficiency. Of course, there isn’t much they can do about that except block more kicks. That low ranking was offset by the #1 ranking in kickoff efficiency, and Tech was solid across the board in the other ratings. That led to the #1 overall ranking in special teams efficiency.

2008: #80 overall, #33 FGE, #71 PRE, #94 KRE, #111 PE, #30 KE, #85 OFGE

There was a big down turn on special teams in 208. Punt coverage was terrible, and the Hokies struggled to return kickoffs and punts. (Eddie Royal and his 111 career punt returns went pro after 2007.) Opponents returned three punts for touchdowns over the course of the season, which ultimately caused special teams efficiency to plummet to #80 in the country.

2009: #8 overall, #26 FGE, #30 PRE, #16 KRE, #46 PE, #16 KE, #109 OFGE

After a year near the bottom in special teams efficiency, Virginia Tech rallied in 2009 to have a very impressive year. Their coverage teams were good, especially on kickoffs. They were excellent at returning punts (Jayron Hosley) and kicks (Dyrell Roberts and David Wilson), and their field goal efficiency was very high (Matt Waldron: 20-of-23). Yet again, the opponent field goal efficiency was the only number that held them back, but that was somewhat out of their control.

2010: #1 overall, #4 FGE, #24 PRE, #51 KRE, #9 PE, #26 KE, #33 OFGE

For the second time in four years, Virginia Tech