2012 football position by position: coverage
As we’re just weeks away from the start of the football season, it’s time to take a detailed position-by-position look at the 2012 EMU football team. This is our time to refresh our memory about returning players, and learn a little about the new faces.
This one is a little tricky to cover (ha ha!) because so much is dependent on the kicker/punter. It’s also tricky because it’s commons for coaches to put younger defensive players who have promise but haven’t really cracked the depth chart onto the coverage team. So, with someone like Pudge Cotton, for example, there’s a possibility that as he gets more playing time as a defensive back, he’ll be used less (or not at all) on the coverage team. Because of that, this is going to be a little less in-depth, and in particular, I’m not even going to try to guess who may or may not play.
In 2011, EMU allowed just 16.9 yards on kickoff returns, the second-best nationally! Additionally they didn’t allow any kickoff returns for touchdowns. Punt returns were not so impressive, but still reasonable, at 8.6 yards per return, 9th in the MAC and 70th nationally.
The real disaster in the punt coverage was the Toledo game, in which they allowed six returns for 98 yards, an average of 16.3 yards per return, including one that Eric Page took back 85 yards for a touchdown. If you take out that one return, the season average drops all the way from 8.6 to 3.8 yards, which would be fifth nationally. Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way, but my point is that EMU was basically one good tackle away from having a nationally elite punt coverage unit to go with their kickoff coverage team.
Hustle Belt didn’t rank coverage units, instead lumping them in with “The Return Game”, which I find a little odd since they’re opposing squads. In any event, they rated EMU 5/13.