Michigan Football Preview 2013

2013 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link: https://read.uberflip.com/i/137378

Contents of this Issue


Page 171 of 267

st Year-By-Year Kicking Leaders Punting Avg. Long Year 45.0 62 2007 41.6 58 2006 43.6 72 2005 44.5 66 2004 43.0 63 2003 Field Goals Year Player Att.MadeLong Year 18 16 52 2012 B. Gibbons 2007 2011 B. Gibbons 17 13 43 2006 2010 S. Broekhuizen 9 3 37 2005 2009 J. Olesnavage 15 11 51 2004 2008 K.C. Lopata 15 10 50 2003 Year 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 During his freshman season, Dennis Norfleet racked up 827 kickoff return yards — which ranks second on U-M's single-season chart — establishing a pace that would smash the current career school record. photo by lon horwedel single-season program history), averaging 23.6 yards per return with a career high of 38. Over a four-year career, Norfleet is on track for 3,308 career kickoff returning yards, which would smash the Michigan career record of 1,993 yards, set by Steve Breaston (2003-06). "Dennis is cat quick, and he has great vision," Ferrigno said. "He might not be the fastest guy out there, but he can hit it and get it. He makes moves in the open field, and he's tough. He makes these sharp cuts that make him hard to tackle." Senior Drew Dileo, the No. 2 man on kickoff returns, is a good counterpoint to Norfleet's aggressive style. "I feel safe with Drew back there on kick returns, because he will keep the little guy in the end zone when he is supposed to stay in the Player Att. Will Hagerup 33 Matt Wile 17 Will Hagerup 33 Zoltan Mesko 52 Zoltan Mesko 80 Player Att. Zoltan Mesko 70 Zoltan Mesko 50 Ryan Ross 52 Adam Finley 64 Adam Finley 53 Player K.C. Lopata Garrett Rivas Garrett Rivas Garrett Rivas Garrett Rivas Avg. Long 41.1 68 41.6 64 38.3 64 43.0 68 40.0 53 Att.MadeLong 12 11 42 20 17 48 26 19 47 24 19 47 12 9 47 end zone," Ferrigno said. "Dennis has a tendency to take it out when maybe he shouldn't. After that call, Drew looks to block. He's running the show." Last season, Norfleet's forceful mindset held the coaches back from giving him too many attempts at punt returning. "What you want to have, when they punt the ball, is a first down going the other way," Ferrigno said. "You don't want bad things to happen. We err on being a little more conservative." Norfleet did return two punts for an impressive 26.5 yards per return last season — and with another year of work with the coaches, he may see more chances in 2013. "I will put him back there," Ferrigno said. "There is no scare in Dennis. You're nervous that he might try to do too much or field something he shouldn't field. Those are the things we're continuously working on with him. He's very smart and talented." For now, though, fifth-year senior Jeremy Gallon will be the primary option in the punt return game. Gallon did not put up big numbers last year, bringing back 12 punts for an average of 5.5 yards per return. But he did come up big in key situations — like a season-high 26yard return in the waning seconds of the Northwestern game that set up the game-tying drive — and, more importantly, he didn't make mistakes. "He's quick, fast, tough and he sees it," Ferrigno said. "He has good vision, and that's what I like. He has good speed. He doesn't drop much." ❏ U-M Looking For More Punt Return Opportunities This decade, the Wolverines have averaged just 17.3 punt returns per Last season, the Michigan defense forced 58 punts from opponents. year. That's a huge decline from previous decades: 36.9 punt returns Just 16 of those were returned. per season in the 2000s; 35.8 punt returns per season in the 1990s; 31.1 The Wolverines fair caught 26 punts. Another 15 were downed or punt returns per season in the 1980s; 36.1 punt returns per season in the punted out of bounds, and one rolled into the end zone for a touchback. 1970s; 29.1 punt returns per season in the 1960s; Having returned just 27.6 percent of the punts and 29.0 punt returns per season in the 1950s. kicked their way, the U-M return specialists Fewest Punt Returns And it's not just Michigan who has seen a deturned in one of the least productive seasons in In A Season, Last 60 Years cline in punt returns. Last season, just 13 teams program history. Punt Avg. Per managed to return more than 30 punts, and The Michigan statistical archive goes back to SeasonReturns Return Long no team returned more than 37 (Florida State the 1949 season. In that time frame, the Wolver2010147.434 and Virginia Tech). Comparatively, there were ines have failed to return 20 or more punts in 2012168.842 33 teams that returned more than 30 punts in just three seasons. They returned a low of 14 in 1962183.612 2007, including nine that returned 40 or more. 2010 and 18 in 1962. 1988 2010.560 That year, Ohio State led the country with 53 On the flip side, the team has returned more 1994209.172 returns. than 50 punts on three separate occasions: 53 in 2011229.032 "There are times where we're fair catching, 2003, 51 in 1997 and 52 in 1971. and we could do a little better blocking on the The Wolverines' struggle to find opportunities outside," Ferrigno said. "The gunners are coming down and getting in to return punts may be proof of a larger trend: punters are building the returner's face — that's how you can create more returns. You have more diverse arsenals to limit returners' options. to hold those guys up with better blocking. But you're at the mercy of With the increased proliferation of rugby-style punts, in which punters the punter a lot of the time. People roll out, rugby kick. They're kicking roll out and kick a less-arching punt designed to bounce instead of hang the ball all over the place, and you don't get as many chances as you'd in the air, returners are fielding the ball with less open space in front of like. There's really no way to create more." them than ever before. 170  ■  The Wolverine 2013 Football Preview

Articles in this issue

view archives of Michigan Football Preview 2013 - 2013 Michigan Football Preview