Baylor game notes and analysis: special teams

Notes and analysis on the Horns' special teams performance in their 49-10 win over Baylor:

Woe is special teams. Certain parts of it at least. The Texas kickoff team remained borderline bad Saturday. Dan Smith sent his kickoffs to the five, the six, the 12, the 10, the 12, the six and out of bounds at the 14. To give you an idea of how weak, comparatively speaking, some of Smith's kickoffs were, Baylor kicker Adam Stiles, after a five-yard offsides penalty on a BU kickoff, still managed to get the ball to the goalline, something Smith didn't come close to doing without the five-yard disadvantage. In general, the Longhorns did a better job than of late of covering the short kicks, allowing the Bears average starting field position of the 26 on Smith's seven kickoffs. Dusty Mangum also sent a squib kick to the Baylor 23, where Baylor up man Marcus Stenix grabbed it and returned to the 42, setting up the Bears with a short field on their field goal drive before the half. Against a bad team like Baylor, the Horns can get away with these poor kickoff performances, but a better football team is more likely to exploit the field position advantage.

Brian Bradford had one of his best days of the season, averaging 39 yards on his six punts, three of which he put inside the Baylor 20. All of his punts had excellent hang time, forcing dangerous BU punt returner Bobby Hart into three fair catches and two short returns. Hart did bust one, though, when Reed Boyd failed to wrap the return man, allowing him to scoot free for 42 yards. There was also a block in the back that the refs didn't call that helped spring Hart, but Boyd should have had him regardless.

Texas turned in a far better return game performance than coverage performance. Nathan Vasher averaged 24.7 yards on his seven punt returns, including a long of 60. Victor Ike also took the opening kickoff of the second half back 60 yards, setting up the Texas offense for a short scoring drive. Ervis Hill had a solid 26-yard return earlier in the game.

Mangum, who nailed all seven extra point attempts, missed badly on his only field goal try of the game, a 45-yarder late in the second quarter that sailed on a low line to about the goalline.

Tyrone Jones registered the Horns' second blocked field goal of the year, leaping at the line to swat Stiles' first quarter, 43-yard attempt.

Horns Digest Top Stories