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Golden Nuggets: Did Special Teams Improve This Year?

JO's season in review continues today with special teams.  Despite Genyk's improvements in some areas of special teams (kickoff distance, mainly), several problems carried over from the Alamar era.   Will things improve in coming season with Genyk, or are we doomed to shout "ALAMAAAR!" after every kick/punt return?

But the problems persisted. In terms of sheer numbers, Cal’s punt and kickoff coverage actually got worse this season. With the bowl season still to play, the Bears rank 107th nationally in punt return yardage against (12.95 yards per return). They are also on of just seven teams in the country that allowed two punt returns for touchdowns this season (one on a blocked punt against Arizona State). Two teams allowed three punts to be returned for scores.

The Bears ranked 83rd in punt return defense last season (10.52).

Kickoff return defense got worse as well. Last year, Cal ranked 58th nationally (21.49). This year, the Bears are at No. 84 (22.48).
One of the reasons Tedford hired Genyk was his history working with kickers. Cal kicker Giorgio Tavecchio still needs some work. The good news is he consistently drove the ball deeper with his kickoffs this season. The bad news is he is still extremely inconsistent with his field goals, and needs to prove he can produce in the clutch, like he did last season at Arizona State.

After the jump the Pac-12 network comes into focus, Kansas suspends a senior guard for the Cal game (and beyond), Cal-Kansas nears a sellout, and Rich Feller is named AVCA Coach of the Year.