Kirk Ferentz Eliminating Punt Returns?
If Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz is being serious, the play above might be one of the last times the Hawkeyes ever set up in a punt return formation while he’s the head coach.
When Michigan State successfully ran the fake punt above on Saturday, Ferentz said afterward that he was strongly considering never calling for a punt return again to defend against future fakes. Since 2010, Iowa has had six fake punts executed against it.
On Tuesday, he confirmed that he was quite serious when he said that:
“If you pressed me today, I’d say we may never try to return a punt again. To do that, to block guys, you have to turn and go with those guys to shadow them. When you do that, you open the door. Michigan State did a good job of taking advantage of that.
“What helped us a couple of weeks ago [wide receiver Kevonte Martin-Manley’s two punt returns for touchdowns vs. Western Michigan] we paid for on Saturday. It cost us a field goal and a possession. So yeah, I may be leaning toward the point where you never try to see us return one again. Just fair catch it and try to keep it off the ground.”
Our advice? Get a better special teams coach instead.
Keep your eyes peeled during Iowa’s game at Ohio State on Saturday for the Buckeyes’ first punting opportunity. We’ll see if Ferentz puts his punt return formation - or lack thereof - where his mouth is.
Photo Credit: Jesse Johnson/USA Today Sports