*in net punting
Yes, nearly solely due to remarkable season of punter Zoltan Mesko, Michigan remains atop the nation in net punting this week. You may have noticed that Mesko was listed as a semi-finalist for the Ray Guy Award last week and I think this is a bigger factor than his punting average, although he’s still solid in that category at #7 in the land with an average of just over 45 yards/punt.

Michigan should be pretty good at covering punts, because they’ve covered almost more than anyone in the country. In 2008, Michigan’s 61 punts are more than just 3 other teams (Auburn, Washington State and Wyoming, all with 63) and we’ve punted for more yards (2705) than easily anyone else. Factoid: It’s about 2705 yards from the Big House to the Ann Arbor-Saline Road exit on I-94.

So what does this mean?
* We’ve got a great punter
* We’ve done a decent job covering these great punts
* As mentioned, we punt a lot therefore we’re getting good at it.
* A lot of our drives stop deep in our own side of the field, therefore we don’t have a lot of punts that serve to pin the opponent back. Mesko is getting his full leg into most punts.
* While we’re tops in covering punts we’re still #96 in the country in scoring defense. Therefore, despite our efforts on the punt team and the added length of field required for the other team to score, they still do with ease.

As far as the other categories like offense, defense and what have you, here’s where the Maize and Blue stack up (look away!):

And before closing, props to Brandon Graham who’s #3 in the nation in tackles for loss, just .07 behind leader Alex Carrington of Arkansas State.

4 Comments

  1. Greg (MVictors)

    This is a test of the new comment form

    So is this

  2. The defense is being helped a lot by the punting, but they’re also being hurt a ton by the offense and the return game. I talked about it last week on VB if you’re interested.

  3. Greg (MVictors)

    Tim, I read the post on Varsity Blue, it was very well done

  4. How to successfully punt a football:

    Step1: Warm up and stretch. Take a short jog to get the blood flowing. When finished, stretch for 5-10 minutes. Concentrate on your legs, specifically your quadriceps and your hamstrings.

    Step2: Begin by planting your left foot in the ground and swinging your right leg from behind your torso up as high as it can reach towards your forehead. If you are left footed, reverse these directions and all subsequent ones. This gets your leg warmed up to begin punting.

    Step3: Hold the football out in front of your body with both hands. Make sure the laces on the ball are pointing straight up. Place your right hand on the back, bottom, right side of the ball and your left hand on the front, middle, left side.

    Step4: Angle the football slightly towards the left, towards about 11 o’clock. This is so the outside of your foot stikes the ball evenly when your kick it.

    Step5: To begin kicking, take a small step forward with your left foot followed by a moderate step with your right and then a final moderate step with your left foot. At that point you should firmly plant your left foot into the ground.

    Step6: As you begin swinging your right leg through to kick the ball, slowly remove your left hand from the football. Be careful the maintain the slight angle you established in step 4.

    Step7: As your right leg passes your left leg moving from back to front, drop the ball as gently as possible. Try to maintain the previously establish angle as well as the ball’s parallel position to the ground.

    Step8: The outside center of your foot should strike the ball on it’s lower left side, where both surfaces are parallel to each other upon contact.

    Step9: Make sure your right leg continues upward towards your forehead after making contact with the ball. This is called your follow-through.

    Step10: If the angles are maintained and the points of contact met correctly, you should be able to admire a high spiraling punt at this time.

    Tips & Warnings:
    For best results, repeat these steps thousands of times.

    It is possible to pull and muscle in your kicking leg if you don’t warm up and stretch properly.