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Bulls have eyes on kickoff returns Saturday



One area that Skip Holtz is seeking a specific improvement in Saturday is kickoff returns, where after five games, the Bulls rank 115th out of 120 I-A schools with an average of just 17.6 yards per return.


Junior Lindsey Lamar, last year's Big East Special Teams Player of the Year, has been held in check by opponents, with his longest return in five games just 31 yards. Opponents are averaging 23.2 yards per return, a full 5.6 yards better than the Bulls.

"Lindsey Lamar is a guy we have to get started," Holtz said. "We've looked at some things, what we need to do on kickoff return, and I feel like we're getting closer. We've made some personnel changes there. We're making progress. We're going in the right direction from a special-teams standpoint."

Connecticut has the Big East's top kickoff coverage unit, with a league-high nine touchbacks and the toughest average field position off kickoffs. The Huskies also have a dangerous kickoff returner in Nick Williams, who is averaging 21.1 yards on returns and led the nation last year, averaging 35.2 yards. Williams had two kickoff returns for touchdowns -- 95 yards against Pittsburgh and 100 yards against Rutgers.

CHAMELEONS: Defensive backs coach Rick Smith said part of the challenge of facing UConn's offense is that they've seemingly had a different look each week, making it harder to know what to prepare against.

"You look at the film on them, and every damn week it's a different offense," Smith said. "This week they're kind of static, not moving a whole lot of people. Next week, you've got guys running every which way. They jump out of 12 personnel to 22 personnel to 21 personnel to 10 personnel. You line up and you get ready, get your mindset to stop the run and all the sudden, they're in empty (no running backs). ... You prepare for everything, which means you have to limit ... as the game unfolds, you see what they're doing this week."

[Last modified: Wednesday, October 12, 2011 6:01pm]


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