Happy Returns

West Virginia has deployed a couple of different looks on its punt return squad this year, and assistant coach Daron Roberts said that fans might see more mixing of formations as the season progresses

Roberts, who is charge of West Virginia's offensive special teams (punt return and kickoff return) was charged with putting some zip back in squads that have had some up and down results over the past few seasons. He's done well, as the Mountaineers are 19th in the nation in punt return average (12,8 yards per return) and 29th in kickoff runbacks (23.7). However, he allows that there is more room for improvement, and as a result he's tinkering with different tactics.

The most notable of those have come on punt returns, where he experimented with a two-man return set against Bowling Green, in part due to the fact that the Falcon punter was a rugby style kicker, but also due to several other factors.

"There will be some times when we will go to that even with a regular punter," Roberts said. "It was a good week to experiment and see what suits us."

Although Roberts didn't mention it, another reason was likely the struggles experienced by Tavon Austin in judging and catching the ball on the fly. Austin has let a few balls bounce that he should have fair caught, and had been in something of a rut the previous two weeks. Austin himself acknowledged that, and said he had no problem with the different scheme, noting that it might help him break out. Roberts, for his part, pointed out that a time-honored remedy would help Austin improve.

"More reps," the first year coach prescribed. "That will help him continue to see the ball. We'll put him positions where he has to run to get the ball."

BlueGoldNews Top Stories