Tulane Week Mic Check: Isn't That Special

By Chris Lauderback on September 19, 2018 at 3:05 pm
Former Head Breakfast Coach Urban Meyer at the podium.

Urban Meyer made his full-time return to his head coaching position this week which included the usual Monday press conference typically reserved to discuss the previous week's result while looking ahead to this week's opponent. 

Monday wasn't your usual presser, as you know, with Meyer spending probably 45 of his 55 minutes discussing the Zach Smith saga. 

During the maybe 10 minutes of football talk, Meyer hit on a few topics, most notably how pleased he was with Ohio State's ability to control field position against a dangerous TCU squad. 

MEYER: TCU started 13 of their 14 drives inside their own 25, nine of those inside their own 20. They have a punt returner and kick returner that is one of the best I've seen, certainly in the last 10 years, named Turpin.

We knew that going in. Kind of took your breath away as you're getting ready to watch him play. He had three kickoff returns for just 56 yards. That's under 20 yards a return and zero punt return yards.

The amount of time and effort that our players put into that was phenomenal. Justin Hilliard, Dante Booker, Marcus Williamson, Keandre Jones, Jahsen Wint, Jeff Okudah, Terry McLaurin are just some guys that I have so much appreciation for their unselfishness for that phase of the game, which is obviously important.

Oftentimes Meyer speaks with great hyperbole but in this instance he might have actually undersold just how good Ohio State has been in controlling field position largely through dominant kickoff and punt return coverage. 

As Meyer noted, TCU lethal kickoff return team averaged 14.0 yards on four tries which actually helped Ohio State's year-to-date coverage mark. Though three games, or eight returns, the Buckeyes are giving up just 14.8 yards per kickoff return which is good enough for 16th in the country and No. 2 in the Big Ten (Michigan, 14.0). 

So far this season the longest kickoff return against the Buckeyes is 21 yards by Oregon State's Champ Flemings followed by a 19-yarder from TCU's KaVontae Turpin. 

The punt team shares a similar success story. With 11 punts on the stat sheet, the Buckeyes have yet to surrender a punt return yard with Drue Chrisman's punts going for a net of 42.1 yards, good for 18th among punters with at least five attempts. 

Eight of Chrisman's punts have been downed inside the 20 with eight of his 11 punts also being fair caught. 

When you throw Ohio State's kickoff and punt coverage into a stew you get a team that leads the country in opponent average field position at 78.44. Said differently, Ohio State's opponents, on average, are starting their possessions 78.4 yards away from the end zone, or roughly their own 21.5 yard line. 

If you squint your eyes just right, that's Jim Tressel nodding in approval. 

View 39 Comments