Man, I just don’t get this.
But in Saturday’s win over Tennessee, one of Barber’s punts was blocked and returned for a touchdown, tying the game in the third quarter. It was the second blocked punt for a touchdown this year.
So what’s the problem? Lynch took the blame a few weeks ago for the blocked punt against North Texas, saying he switched into the wrong protection coverage. This time, it appeared that Hicks just whiffed on his block, but Lynch again said it was miscommunication between the three of them.
“It’s understanding the scheme of what we do,” Lynch said. “It’s all about where the protection is, and who’s protecting who. Communication was kind of a barrier on it, and a block was missed. But the fault wasn’t on one person. It definitely goes as a group effort. It was one play that really changed the momentum of the game, luckily we survived from it.”
Lynch also said the crowd noise had an effect. The punt happened near an end zone, and Lynch said one of his teammates, Lucas Redd, told him he had to read Lynch’s lips when he made the call. Finally, senior Connor Norman missing the game didn’t help, as Norman was one of the key communicators on the punt team, lining up on the front line.
“People really don’t understand how well he does for us in that,” Lynch said. “He’s like a security blanket, almost, for the special teams. We get him back, and it’ll be a big deal for the punt team.”
I understand that. What I don’t understand is why the punt protection group didn’t prepare for that. Or the possibility of crowd noise affecting the call. It’s not rocket science, or at least it shouldn’t be. I know they care about getting it right, but somebody’s not staying on top of the small stuff. And it’s killed them in two games now.