December 19, 2012
Gibboney breaks down special teams matchup
Oklahoma State has one of the most productive kicker/punter's in the country and a big-time threat on kickoff returns.
But Purdue's opponent for the Heart of Dallas Bowl also has struggled to cover on kickoff returns and punts, allowing three returns for touchdowns.
Boilermaker special teams coordinator J.B. Gibboney takes a look at the matchup.
GoldandBlack.com: Quinn Sharp seems like he's pretty impressive, handling both kicking and punting duties. He ranked first among kickers in scoring with nearly 12 points per game and made 80 percent of his 31 field goals. What have you seen from him?
Gibboney: "He's got very good numbers. He's got a good field goal percentage. He's got a big leg on punts. He's got a good kickoff leg."
Gold and Black: Oklahoma State is 13th nationally in kickoff return average and has a couple touchdowns. Why do you think they've been successful there?
Gibboney: "They've got a great returners. They've got a couple kids back there who are very dangerous. The one kid (Justin Gilbert) is extremely dangerous. He's a great player. He's got a lot of speed and looks like he's got pretty good vision out there. They do a nice job. They've got a good unit. The kids work hard for him and play hard."
Gold and Black: The injuries on offense and defense, it seems like it's always a trickle down to you for special teams. Are you hopeful that this month as the team has gotten healthier that you'll be able to get some people back?
Gibboney: "There's no question, yeah. The health is always a big deal. You get a little bit extra time here to rep some stuff and get ready. I think we need to go into the game healthy. That should help us."
Gold and Black: Did you have to make a lot of changes personnel-wise to the teams this season?
Gibboney: "Yeah. Obviously, Danny (Anthrop) has played the entire season. The first game he didn't play, but he ended up playing on every unit. So, yes, we've had to change a lot of personnel."
Gold and Black: Anthrop and Sean Robinson were the special team MVPs for the season. Why?
Gibboney: "When you look at all the grades, they've graded out better than anybody we have. We do a point-total system. Those two graded the highest. We really felt they were kind of the glue for the core group of guys."
Gold and Black: What teams did Robinson play on?
Gibboney: "Everything. Every unit. They both did. Cody (Webster) did a nice job, too. He very easily could have got it as well. At the end of the day, percentage-wise, they graded higher."
Gold and Black: Oklahoma State's kickoff coverage and punt defense, statistically, hasn't been that good. There have been three returns for touchdowns against the Cowboys. Are there things you think you can take advantage of?
Gibboney: "I hope. They've got a good kickoff guy. He's 70 percent touchbacks."
Gold and Black: I wondered that with such a good kicker how there were opportunities to return. So do you think it's a game plan for them, we're going to angle it, we're going to pooch it?
Gibboney: "They don't hit many sky kicks. They'll hit some squib kicks and then they'll swing away. I hope we can get them. They play some good players, too. Numbers are numbers."
Gold and Black: Are you looking at Raheem Mostert being fully back with Akeem Hunt on returns?
Gibboney: "He should be healthier now than what he's been. Even against Indiana, he wasn't nearly, he was running out there at 85 percent. I think he scores on the one he broke if he's not hurt. We missed a couple big ones against IU. We had the one big one and had a couple good ones, but we felt like we could have a good day against them."
Gold and Black: Going into the bowl, are you staying with Paul Griggs for long field goals and Sam McCartney for shorter ones?
Gibboney: "That's what they've done. They've proven that. Number-wise in practice. We chart every single kick every day. Statistically for now, at least, we still have a week-and-a-half until the bowl game, unless something drastically changes, that's how it's going to be because that's who gives us the best chance to win on that particular play."
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