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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Looking Forward: (missed) Kick Return Teams

Game changer...
Momentum changer...
Back breaker...
History maker...

These are all accurate ways to describe kick return teams at every level of football competition. No season in the storied history of Auburn football has ever seen the focused attention that the Tigers kick return teams of 2013 achieved. All for good reason. Lets see why, as if you don't already know.

 Kickoff return
Auburn started off the season with Tre Mason returning kickoffs. Mason established early that the Tigers were going to be very different in 2013, in that a true focus on getting good field position was a primary concern for a fledgling offense. Mason got everything started on the right foot with a performance that included this gem:

The Heisman finalist from Auburn wasn't the only player that scored from the kickoff return team. Against Tennessee, Corey Grant let it be known, that more than one Auburn man had the ability to score from way back. That game vs. the Volunteers made Auburn history as the first time ever that a kickoff and a punt were returned for a TD in the same game. 

The punt return for a TD against the Vols was by none other than Chris Davis. A foretelling of events to play out on a Saturday to remember, and with a single play, forever known as "Kick 6" 

From a coaching standpoint, I am sure that Gus Malzahn would like to never see a kickoff return that wasn't meant to start a half of play. That is unrealistic though, and as long as this is a part of the game, I will be watching more intently, and with the anticipation that anything could happen.

Auburn returns Corey Grant and Quan Bray to the kick return teams. Bray was mainly used as a punt return specialist. The Tigers earned 866 total yards on Kickoff returns and 341 yards on punt returns totaling just 29 punts.

Whoever the coaches choose to place at these return positions has the bar set before them. I can't wait to see what happens next.


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