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Texas Tech v. Virginia: Special Teams

This is a series of positional reviews for the matchup between Texas Tech and Virginia at 12:00 p.m. on January 1, 2008 in the Gator Bowl, Jacksonville Florida. I'd also like to give a huge hat-tip to College Football Statistics, who without, these stats would be impossible. Thank you.

Prior Previews:

Special Teams: Let's let the numbers speak for themselves.

Texas Tech Ht/Wt Position Statistic
Jonathan LaCour, #9 6-2/206 Punter 26 Punts for 42.62 Avg.
Alex Trlica, #30 5-11/176 Kicker FG: 12/20, 60%; ExP: 63/63
Danny Amendola, #20 5-11/177 Punt Returner 13 Returns for 16.69 Avg.
Eric Morris, #12 5-8/174 Punt Returner 20 Returns for 9.60 Avg.
Edward Britton, #27 6-1/173 Kick Returner 15 Returns for 25.40 Avg.
L.A. Reed, #86 6-2/201 Kick Returner 15 Returns for 18.87 Avg.
Detron Lewis, #17 6-0/198 Kick Returner 8 Returns for 23.50 Avg.

There's been little to complain about this year from the special teams, but I think that the off year provided by Trlica has been the most disappointing. Only connecting 60% of his field goals just isn't the Trlica that I was so confident in last year. As we all remember, it was Trlica that was so good a year ago against Minnesota and I thought for sure that his senior year would be special.

The play of LaCour has been impressive, especially for a true freshman. It would be nice if the average was a little higher, but I'm certainly not complaining.

I was a little surprised to see that Morris has returned more punts this year than Amendola and it wouldn't surprise me to see Amendola during the bowl game as he provides more of a threat from a game-breaking standpoint.

I like having Britton and Lewis returning kicks and as their averages show, they've been good, and much better than last year.

Virginia Ht/Wt Position Statistic
Ryan Weigand, #16 6-2/181 Punter 49 Punts for 45.53 Avg.
Chris Gould, #9 6-1/204 Kicker FG: 15/19, 78.9%; ExP: 32/34
Vic Hall, #4 5-9/184 Punt Returner 23 Returns for 10.00 Avg.
Andrew Pearman, #21 5-10/168 Kick Returner 29 Returns for 20.97 Avg.
Josh Zidenberg, #25 6-0/213 Kick Returner 10 Returns for 23.00 Avg.

Gould has been pretty good for the Cavaliers, connecting on 78.9% of his kicks. Punter Ryan Weigand has been marginally better than LaCour, but has had almost double the opportunities.

Hall has been okay returning punts, but nothing special. While Pearman has received the lion's share of the kickoff returns, averaging a little less than 21 yards a return.

Conclusion: Virginia has an advantage in the kicking game, while Texas Tech has the advantage on returns. Statistically, neither Texas Tech nor Virginia are outstanding at any one category. We'll call this one a push.