I said earlier in the year this group was great. Great isn’t perfect but they sure were close.
Starting with the punt and punt return units. Shane Tripucka was fifth in the nation at 46.1 yards per punt. This led to the Aggies posting a No. 2 ranking in net punting, I will not say who was No. 1, but if you were watching the college football awards show that will give you a hint.
The return game was already really good. The Aggies led the nation in punt return average. If Kirk and crew had more opportunities, the numbers may resemble the team that finished right behind them. That team had four returns for touchdowns compared to the Aggies only having one.
In the kicking game, Daniel LaCamera went 17 of 20, his only misses were against Nicholls State, Louisiana and Ole Miss. Braden Mann’s only attempt was blocked against UCLA. Oh what might have been if this went through.
As for the return game, the Aggies ranked 36th in kickoff returns and 90th in kick coverage. These stats really never get as much consideration as they should, just think if the return game was in the top 20. How many more drives could that be where you start at the 30 instead of the 20? And what about the coverage unit? Being 90th and giving up 22 yards per return does not sound like a lot but Michigan was No. 1 giving up only 15. I’ll let you decide if that matters.
Going into 2018, Tripucka is gone so we’ll need to find another stud at punter. Both LaCamera and Mann are back so expect the competition to continue. We will also need to find another return specialists with Kirk most likely heading to the NFL. We have plenty that should vie for the job, I expect Roshauud Paul to win the job.