Purdue's special teams have been up-and-down through the first four games of the season, showing excellent coverage on kickoffs and punts, but having two punts and two extra points blocked.
Wednesday, we caught up with special teams coordinator J.B. Gibboney to talk about the good and the bad.
Gold and Black: Let's start on the positive. Your coverage teams have seemingly done well, both on kickoffs and punts. Thoughts?
Gibboney: "Yeah, we're playing solid right now in those areas and we've got to keep going. There are still things we have to improve on. Knock on wood, though, but we're playing solid right now in the coverage units, yes."
Gold and Black: It looks like you have some good individual athletes who are making plays on those units.
Gibboney: "I think we have some kids who are trying to step up in the special teams area, and they need to. We need to continue to have more do so. We have some who are making some plays and we have them out there to make plays, to be honest with you. But right now, they've played the game the way it is supposed to be played."
Gold and Black: Thomas Meadows' performance lately has helped. He's getting better, right?
Gibboney: "There's no question. He knows he's gotten much better since the first game and will continue to get better. We had to clean up a couple things technically for him and we did that. We continue to expect him to get better.
"He is strong, but he's got to be able harness all that strength to develop his art form. The kicking game is just like a golf swing, you've got to develop the art."
Gold and Black: The things that are going wrong
what's happening on punt blocking to cause two to be blocked?
Gibboney: "I can't give you all the details and answers, but we have to be more disciplined, how about that? We need to be more disciplined, as a whole, and we'll be fine. That's the biggest thing, when we get on the field, we need to be more disciplined."
Gold and Black: But they are alignment issues, and thus you feel they can be fixed.
Gibboney: "Sure, again, we need to be more disciplined. Once we get on the field, there's no one back there telling you guys what to do and how to do it and so on and so forth. But we'll be fine. We've just got to be more disciplined."
Gold and Black: It's been a good unit, with Cody Webster having a solid season, when you've gotten the kicks off.
Gibboney: "The kids have done a pretty good job. They missed some things early, but they've done a pretty well. But Cody has some things to work on too; he's still not where we want him and he knows that. But he's very talented and very gifted.
"It's like Meadows, being able to develop that art form, and once they do they become very, very exceptional. That's what we're trying to get."
Gold and Black: I'd imagine I'll get a similar answer here, but the extra points, two of those blocked also
Gibboney: "It's the same thing. We just have to be more disciplined in our techniques. We just have to be more disciplined, that's it."
Gold and Black: This is frustrating right. You want to be 100-percent on everything, right?
Gibboney: "There's no question. You're crazy if you're not like that. Our KOR is coming; the sky kick the other day was blocked pretty clean and if (Akeem) Hunt isn't pushed out-of-bounds it's a touchdown. We've had some good things happening.
"But, you're right, some who don't understand the full game are going to pick out the negatives."
Gold and Black: With the new rules, what kind of things have you seen on kickoff return?
Gibboney: "It's been interesting, to be honest with you. We prepared for a lot of it and that's the reason we've still been able to have some success. We had those couple balls, the one hit Raheem (Mostert) and turns into a one-yard return and Hunt caught the one sky kick and stepped out-of-bounds for another one-yard return, so the numbers aren't going to be there. It's so hard to keep your numbers up and that's why they're just numbers, to be honest with you, they really are.
"Now, have we impacted the games? I think we have, and that's the most important thing. People need to really get over the numbers part, it's nice to talk about and stuff like that, but bottom line is we impact the game.
"But to get back to your question, yeah, I think we knew we going to see some of the stuff, we're not surprised by it. Some of it is tough to pick up and some of it when we do it will be a homerun. It's kind of pick your poison with that. I thought early on we'd see some more sky kicks but we haven't see quite as many as what I would have thought. We've had three or four, and I thought we'd see more.
"It will be interesting to see how it goes with the rest of the way with what teams do."
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