Chicago Sun-Times
with Mark Lazerus

Don't look for Floyd, Atkinson on punt returns

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There has been a lot of space spent on this blog writing about the punt-return situation. Probably too much, truth be tolled. So, I will put a moratorium on punt-return entries after today, but thought coach Brian Kelly hit on some interesting points today.

As everyone knows, Theo Riddick started out as the No. 1 punt returner before muffing a punt and bobbling another in a season-opening loss to South Florida. Senior John Goodman has been the returner since. While he has reliable hands (save one muff against Michigan State), he is not a threat on returns.

Why, then, does Michael Floyd not get a shot? Or Freshman George Atkinson III, who returned a kickoff for a touchdown against Michigan State?

"It's just a different skill set from any other specialty," Kelly said. "You know, kickoff, obviously you've got great space. There's not anybody breathing down on you when you're ready to catch that ball. 

"Just the ability to maintain a focus and concentration while there's three or four guys ready to knock your head off requires somebody that has more than anything else the confidence to do it. And secondly, muscle memory, that you can do that and repeat it. The guy that we have back there has the best set of those things. Yeah, I'd like him also to be 4.2 (in the 40-yard dash) and make everybody miss. But we've got what we've got and we've got to continue to build on that."

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This page contains a single entry by Neil Hayes published on September 27, 2011 2:01 PM.

Gray, Wood proving interchangeable was the previous entry in this blog.

Kelly on 'Will' linebackers, freshman backs is the next entry in this blog.

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