OU report card: Special teams

Kicking game had plenty of ups and downs for the Sooners

The 2014 season is in the books for Oklahoma as the Sooners began the season in the top five but ended a disappointing 8-5 with losses in the final two games.

Before we start looking ahead to 2015, we’re going to take another look at every position this season for the Sooners.

Special Teams

Bob Przybylo: B-. This would have been higher if not for the Tyreek Hill punt return in Bedlam and the head-scratching inconsistency from kicker Michael Hunnicutt.

Punter Jed Barnett wasn’t spectacular, but he was far from a weakness for OU. Nick Hodgson was dynamite as a kickoff specialist, getting a touchback 70 percent of the time.

OU never made a dent in the punt return game but also never lost a fumble, and Alex Ross was among the most electrifying returners in the nation with two crucial touchdown returns during the first six games of the season.

Still something was just a little bit lacking when talking about this group. Ross never produced a big return the second half of the season, and the wheels completely fell off for Hunnicutt. It will be interesting to see how this evolves in 2015.

Justin Hite: B. The week after Oklahoma’s loss to Oklahoma State, my fiancée came home from work and asked me a question.

“You know what you don’t do?” she said. “You don’t punt, again.”

My fiancée doesn’t watch football. She wouldn’t have any idea who Tyreek Hill is if she saw him on the street.

But the failures of Oklahoma’s special teams, and the school as a whole, will always ring louder.

Don’t get it wrong though, Oklahoma’s punt return, its field goal kicking and its punting were all sub-par. Although the punt return units didn’t turn the ball over, a bigger positive than a 12-yard per return average.

Barnett wasn’t bad, but he wasn’t good, and Hunnicutt . . . where do you start? Ross was great early but didn’t make any plays late.

Hodgson was the best bet in college football. He averaged 45.1 net yards per kickoff. That puts the ball at the 19.9-yard line after every kick. Can’t ask for much better.

Sooners Illustrated overall grade: B-.


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