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Post Kicking it through the end zone

Friday March 27, 2009

Yesterday in getting to know new scholarship kicker Brandon Bogotay, I posted that he tallied 20 touchbacks on 52 kickoffs. That’s a 38% clip. For a guy who’s supposed to be able to kick it through the end zone, that 38% rate might seem a little low. Someone on the DawgVent asked why we were using a scholarship for a kickoff specialist who only gets touchbacks around 40% of the time.

At the time I didn’t know whether 38% was low, high, or average. We know it was a sight better than we had last season. How would it compare to the competition around the southeast?

  • South Carolina (Succop): 25 touchbacks on 61 kickoffs…41%
  • Ole Miss (Sparks): 10 touchbacks on 72 kickoffs…14%
  • Florida (Sturgis): 12 touchbacks on 90 kickoffs…13%
  • Auburn (Byrum/Hull): 4 touchbacks on 48 kickoffs…8%
  • Georgia Tech (Blair): 5 touchbacks on 62 kickoffs…8%
  • Clemson (Buchholz): 5 touchbacks on 64 kickoffs…8%
  • Tennessee (Cunningham): 3 touchbacks on 40 kickoffs…7.5%
  • LSU (Jasper): 4 touchbacks on 76 kickoffs…5%
  • Georgia (Walsh): 4 touchbacks on 75 kickoffs…5%
  • Alabama (Tiffin): 2 touchbacks on 75 kickoffs…3%


  • Tennessee and Auburn had really, really bad offenses last year…sheesh. It can’t be said enough.
  • All-SEC placekickers (Colt David and Joshua Shene) didn’t handle kickoff duties.
  • A kicker who can get touchbacks more than 15% of the time seems to be pretty rare in these parts. I’ll leave it as an exercise to someone else to find out if 2008 was a down year for touchbacks.
  • If Bogotay can maintain his touchback rate at Georgia, he’ll be one of the best in the nation. If he is only half as effective at Georgia, he’d still likely be the best in the region.

Of course you have to have all sorts of caveats when comparing JUCO stats to those of SEC and ACC kickers. It’s not as poor of a comparison as high school stats and video though. You’re kicking from the same spot regardless of the college. We also don’t know what happened on the kickoffs that weren’t touchbacks. Were they shanks? Out of bounds? Line drives that were returned to the 40? Or were they also kicked deep but returned anyway?

Since touchbacks and kicking it through the end zone are actually not as common as we might have thought, we can’t forget that most of the time – even with the best of kickoff specialists – the coverage unit is still going to be just as important as the guy kicking off. I’m fine with not getting a touchback, but if we can at least get the ball close to or slightly inside the goal line, hopefully we’ll see far fewer returns like this next season.

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