Heading into the 2021 season, you might not think somebody on the field for less than 10 plays a game could be described as an “Impact Player”. But if you checked to see who wrote this, you know exactly where this article was headed. 4th Down, the 3rd phase of football, Special Teams, whatever you want to call it, is what we’re here to talk about today.
That being said, let’s look where we’ve been.
6/16 on field goals attempted across 22 games. 37.5% (which got us 5th worst in the country last year, ahead of only Buffalo, UMass, Ohio, and Michigan hahahahaha).
If you’re in the Redzone, you’ve got to capitalize and get all the points you can muster. In 2020, Tech did an impressively poor job of that, scoring on 66% of drives that reached their opponent’s 20 yard line. That ranks them at 122nd in the country. In 2019 it was somehow worse. We only scored on 60% of Redzone trips - which was dead last in all of FBS.
This is in large part because there was either a lack of belief in the kicking team (we don’t blame players here), or they were not put in positions to succeed.
We’ll save hashing that out for another time (watch the first 2-3 games and tell me we practiced live kicks once in practice).
What we’ll do instead is look to the immediate future in our grad transfer from Tennessee, Brent Cimaglia.
While at Tennessee, Cimaglia was more than twice as successful in terms of his FG% as Georgia Tech was as a whole, boasting a career 74% success rate.
Now for the nerdy stuff. Thanks to Akshay and @cfbfastR, I can show you how Cimaglia compares to Tech’s kickers from 2017-2020.
So, as you can see, Cimaglia for his career improves our kicking game in almost every way. If we can see these kind of results on the field in 2021, expect it to translate to wins.
Here’s another fancy chart that shows you where Cimaglia compares to the rest of the nation since 2017:
Brent’s only real weakness compared to all kickers is from 30-39, which accounts for 5 of his 16 career misses. I’ll take 14/19 from 30-39 all day compared to 3/8 at all ranges.
His breakout year was in 2019, where he went 23/27 on all field goals, including 2/2 over 50 yards. This fantastic season saw him named a semi-finalist for the Lou Groza award, the highest honor in collegiate kicking.
Most of you will remember that season’s Lou Groza winner as someone who cost his team an undefeated regular season by missing a combined 4 field goals in his teams 2 losses on the year.
But we’re not here to talk about kickers with recreation goggles now are we? Back to Brent.
For this season, expect Brent to be put in a position to thrive. Look for Tech to emerge from the basement of Redzone Scoring Percentage statistics. He didn’t handle kickoffs for Tennessee in 2020, but expect him to shoulder that load for the Yellow Jackets this season. We’re all looking for shades of our favorite former placekicker out of Brent, and with any luck, he’ll be able to use his year in Atlanta to bolster his draft stock and return to his 2019 form under an offense that will put him in a position hopefully inside the opponent’s 38 yard line.
85 Days Til Kickoff.