Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Be the Hammer

* Be the Hammer is the latest in a line of Fresno State football related features that gives us the opportunity to further discuss the 'Dogs in more facets. This time, it's in regards to special teams.

Unfortunately, we don't have the luxury of multiple camera angles and video editing equipment like the Fresno State coaching staff does, so we'll make our selection the old-fashioned way -- memory and dvr.

Our top 3 selections in the running to carry the hammer (in no particular order):
  • Kevin Goessling (K) - Made good on field goals of 36 and 49 yards
  • Andrew Shapiro (K) - Kicked off 5 times, resulting in 2 touchbacks. Helped keep one of the nation's most dangerous kick return men in check.
  • A.J. Jefferson (KR/CB) - 3 kick returns for 77 yards (good for about 26 per). His long kick return of 34 yards was the closest he's come this year to breaking one.
Yes, we see it too. Sadly, there are two kickers in the running for the hammer, and frankly, it's disappointing. After years of special teams dominance in all phases, it has become easy to take these things for granted. Hopefully, the coaches see something we didn't have the eyes for, because honestly, a kicker potentially carrying the hammer is embarrassing.

On a small tangent, but related nonetheless, I don't think you'll find many dissenting opinions to the claim that Fresno State has played in some tough, physical games this year. But in my opinion, they haven't been physical enough. I can't help but compare current teams to teams of the past, and using that as the standard, I don't think opposing teams are using nearly enough ice the day after the game.

Special teams is one of those areas in which this has been glaring. Especially when Kendall Edwards sets the standard (yes, it was a penalty, but baaaaarely). Aside from Lorne Bell and occasionally Kyle Knox, not many 'Dogs are coming close to making opponents clap their knees in fear.

But I digress, although this is absolutely a topic that needs further discussion, just at a later date. Devon Wylie -- who is easily the best Bulldogs special teamer overall -- and Isaiah Green were also considered as nominees. Wylie showed his 4.25 speed in outrunning a line drive punt and stopping it inside the 5, while Green saved a ton of yardage on an early kick return by tackling Cincinnati's Mardy Gilyard after busting through a double team. In the end, Wylie just didn't have enough opportunities to make an impact, while Green flopped big time on blocking for punt return men.

Although we tried to avoid it, we were left with no choice but to announce the winner of this week's Be the Hammer award as ...

... Andrew Shapiro (As much as we like him, we're crossing our fingers for a different choice by the coaches)

Photo by Jason O. Watson - U.S. Presswire

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