Countdown To Kickoff - 14 Days: Utah State Special Teams Looking To Create Plays And Maximize Field Position In 2012
Aug. 16, 2012
LOGAN, Utah -
By Megan Allen, USU Athletic Media Relations
After showing significant progress in a number of areas in 2011, Utah State's special teams will be looking to make big plays and maximize field position during the upcoming season under special teams coordinator Bill Busch who is entering his second year in charge of the Aggie specialists.
As Utah State's special teams coordinator in 2011, Busch's punt unit ranked fourth in the WAC and 29th in the nation with a net average of 38.20 yards per punt. USU's kickoff return unit was also among the national leaders in 2011, ranking third in the WAC and 39th in the nation with an average of 22.80 yards per return.
As a team, Utah State's net punting average improved 49 spots from 2010, ranking No. 29 in 2011 with a net average of 38.20 yards per punt after ranking No. 78 in 2010 with a net average of 35.49 yards per punt.
Furthermore, senior Tyler Bennett emerged as one of the top punters in the nation under Busch's tutelage a year ago as he ranked third in the WAC and 16th in the country, averaging 43.83 yards per punt.
With two weeks until Utah State kicks off the 2012 season at home against Southern Utah on Aug. 30, Busch spent a few minutes talking about the upcoming season and what Aggie fans can expect from the USU special teams this fall.
Utah State has all of its specialists back from a year ago and even returns a couple of redshirts. Are there high expectations for the special teams groups this year?
Utah State's net punting ranked among the top 30 in the nation a year. What are your expectations with the punting group this year?
"It starts with getting the ball back there. And again, having Nate (Needham) there is very important. Tyler (Bennett) continues to improve with his punts. He's done a nice job so far this summer. Jaron Bentrude has also done a nice job punting. I anticipate a lot of great things. It comes down to your cover unit too. We'll be able to turn the ball over. The big thing you want is just consistency and hang time."
Are there any goals or percentages you're trying to meet as far as punting?
How about punt return and the specialists available here?
The NCAA changed the kickoff back to the 35-yardline this year, while touchbacks will now be spotted at the 25. Does that change your approach on kickoffs?
Last year's kick return unit ranked among the best nationally as well. What are your expectations for that group?
Are there percentages or goals you have in mind for extra points and field goals?
Overall, what can Aggie fans expect from USU's special teams units in 2012?