Colorado allowed two special teams touchdowns to Michigan early in the season and a 55-yard punt return TD to Utah’s Boobie Hobbs last week. Against the Wolverines, it was a blocked punt and a 54-yard punt runback by Jabrill Peppers. Even without the two long touchdowns, Buffs’ opponents have averaged nearly 10 yards per punt return. Kickoff coverage has also been average at best with kickoffs going back almost 27 yards apiece. Colorado kickers have achieved touchbacks on 41 of their 81 kickoffs this season.
The placekicker situation is a little confusing with four different kickers attempting field goals this season, and three kickers have at least 14 kickoffs to their credit. For some clarification on that and other things Colorado Special Teams, I talked to Jack Barsch of SBN’s The Ralphie Report.
Special teams has been an adventure this year. The Michigan game is the clear low watermark, but there have been other head-scratchers at times (this past weekend is an example). Diego Gonzales, last year’s starter, was having a great start to his senior campaign before he tore his Achilles in Michigan. The backup kicker, Chris Graham, kicks a low ball with slower velocity. CU alternated between him and Davis Price for a while, but once Davis Price became sick with mono, Chris Graham was the only option. He has performed well enough this season, but the Stanford game was filled with misses. So, given that Price was sick, Gonzalez was out for the year, and Graham was struggling, Alex Kinney, the punter, took a shot. He missed. Speaking of Kinney, he has been hot and cold this year. Michigan was his worst game, and he has improved since then. He has some punts that are absolute boomers, and some that his foot wrong and are line drives to the returner. Kick coverage has been fine, with very few breakdowns. The only kick returner this year has been Anthony Julmisse, an exciting true freshman. He will run it out more than he should, but he has some moves and can break a few.
Here’s your weekly special teams stat dump: