OSU football: Kickoff nightmares
Mike Gundy says he’s not going to risk any defensive starters by playing them on the kickoff return. That’s a fairly strong stance for a team that has given up three touchdowns on kick returns this year, despite having one of the nation’s top kickoff artists in Quinn Sharp.
Gundy said the risk of injury to an Orie Lemon or a Markelle Martin is too high.
It’s an interesting debate — I would have to disagree with Gundy; after about the second kickoff return TD, I think you have to scrap your desire to play all backups on the kickoff team. When you hear that the OSU kickoff unit consists of Sharp and 10 freshmen, all backups, you start to realize why opponents are taking it to the house.
But left unattended is Gundy’s assumption that kickoff units are more susceptible to injury.
Is that true? The image of OSU freshman Andrew Hudson laid out after a block by Nebraska’s Eric Martin last week comes quickly to mind. Martin this week was suspended for one game by the Big 12 Conference for what it deemed a helmet-to-helmet hit. Commissioner Dan Bebee called the hit “dangerous” and “one that we in the football community are trying to remove from the game.”
But think about all the new rules placed into football in recent years, designed solely to limit injuries. The head-to-head hits. In the NFL, the low hits on quarterbacks. The horse-collar tackles. Almost all are rooted not on kickoffs, but on regular plays from scrimmage.
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