We’re six games into the South Carolina’s first season with Will Muschamp, and it’s been a mixed bag on special teams.
The Gamecocks (2-4, 1-4 SEC) have had their share of ups and downs in nearly every facet of special teams play.
One of the biggest issues for South Carolina this season is at punt returner. As a team, they’re averaging 3.6 yards per return, which ranks 108th in the country.
More specifically, fielding punts is the primary problem. Deebo Samuel, Rashad Fenton and Jamarcus King have all muffed one this season. King’s drop, which came in the fourth quarter of the Texas A&M game, was the most glaring.
Conversely, the kickoff return unit has been strong. Running back A.J. Turner, the only player to return a kick this season, is averaging 26.8 yards per return, which is 26th in the country among individuals. Interestingly enough, the 26.8 figure is 14th among teams.
One return unit would receive a failing grade. The other is pretty darn close to earning an A.
Kicking and Punting
Punter Sean Kelly has been a busy man, punting 37 times during the first half of the season, which is ninth-most in the country. His average of 42.2 yards is 46th nationally.
Elliott Fry won the Vanderbilt game with a 55-yard field goal. He did have a couple of hiccups against Texas A&M, missing makable kicks from 44 and 43 yards. For the year, the senior is 7 for 10 on field goals and hasn’t missed an extra point.
The punt coverage team has been respectable, giving up 6.9 yards per punt return, but the kickoff return team has averaged 25.6 yards return (No. 117 in nation).
A majority of the kick return damage was done by Georgia’s Terry Godwin, who returned last Sunday’s onside kick 43 yards for a touchdown. We’re not holding that one fluke play against the Gamecocks kick coverage team.