**Editor’s note….Welcome our newest contributor to the team! This is NateDawg’s first post on the site.
From the units biggest fan….
I know there has been some concern over the last few seasons over the special teams unit. Well, I’m here to put as many of those to rest as possible.
Last season there were no kickoffs or punts returned for more than 30 yards. The punt and field goal units have each seen entire games when they didn’t enter the field but just a minimal number of times (meaning the offense is doing it’s job).
These guys are all just in college and make mistakes, many of which come from dusting off cobb webs. Nonetheless, they are doing their best to overcome them. The best thing we can do as fans is to encourage them and not drone on about their mishaps.
We should stop as much of the negative energy as possible, as that negative energy only makes things worse. Like ragging on them after they have made a mistake, or undermining Coach Swinney for “coaching” them.
If it helps to understand, those negative comments to individual players hurt the whole team, including players no one wants to hurt. The unit uses the saying “specialists are awesome” to encourage each other, why not treat them as such.
It seems most of the negative energy is directed at BT Potter and Will Spiers. Now, I realize BT had some trouble in the middle of the season, but we fans need to realize, he was just getting back into the swing of things as a starting place kicker, and negative feedback from Clemson fans made things worse for him, the other players, and even Coach Swinney. In fact, the negative energy probably did more to destroy his confidence than anything that happened in the game.
For the record, he was recruited for his kickoffs, most of which have been touchbacks. Potter is also perfect on extra points and on FGs of 50 yards or more. !
Will Spiers has had only one miscue in each of the past three seasons he has played for Clemson and mistakes happen. He has a tendacy to kick the ball high.
Most punters in the NCAA can either kick far, or kick high, and very few can do both. The high kick gives the coverage team plenty of time to surround the opposing returner and keep them in check, whereas the long ball could leave the coverage range, and lead to a longer return.
Aidan Swanson can also kick high, and thus, keep the returners in check.
Jonathan Weitz, Jack Maddox, Ty Brown, and Swanson haven’t had as much playing time, so when they go out there, they may be shaky.
Giving them support, encouragement, patience, and supportive messages will go a long way in boosting their confidence, just like it did for Chase Brice when he played the remainder of the game against Syracuse. It may take some practice from some of us fans, but it will all be worth it, just wait and see! #SpecialistsAreAwesome #GoTigers