Theater of Operations, Florida Gators Season Review: The Kick Returns

JACKSONVILLE, FL - JANUARY 02: Andre Debose #4 of the Florida Gators celebrates with his teammates after returning a kickoff for a touchdown during the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl against the Ohio State Buckeyes at EverBank Field on January 2, 2012 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

For previous editions of Theater of Operations' Season Review, please see bottom of article.

As usual, the Florida Gators also had success this past season returning kicks. The Gators in 2011 returned two kicks (both kickoffs) for touchdowns. Though technically they did return two punts for touchdowns as well, but both of them came off of blocks, so while those count, they don't count.

The two kickoffs that were returned for touchdowns were by Andre Debose (against Ohio State) and Jeff Demps (against Georiga), and the weird thing is that they both were for 99-yards.

On the year, Debose returned nineteen kickoffs for an average of just over 26-yards per return. Demps on the other hand, returned ten kickoffs for an average of exactly 25-yards per return. Just another successful year for the Gators return kicks.

Play No. 1: Debose's 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Ohio State:

Kr1_medium

(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

I'm not saying that this formation had anything to do with the return, but it does appear odd. I mean, I know teams have several formations on kickoff coverage, but to have 40% (not including the kicker) of your men arriving late to the line, is different right?

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(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Lost in the return, is the catch (yellow square) that Andre Debose makes before he begins his trek up the field.

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(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

As Debose (yellow circle) begins to enter the area of attack, the blockers do a great job in sealing off the coverage (yellow squares) of Ohio State. There is only one free Ohio State player (green circle), but he is running at a bad angle.

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(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

In the middle of the play, Debose (yellow circle) still has an unbelievably clear lane to run through. The blocking (yellow squares) continues to be phenomenal.

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(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

When Debose (yellow circle) gets ahead of you, you aren't catching him. There is only one player (green circle) that even has a chance to catch him, but let's be honest here... It isn't going to happen.

Kr6_medium

(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

I did like that when Debose slowed up the last 20-yards or so, Demps (yellow square) saw an opportunity to get in a shot on the closest Ohio State player. Demps got hit to the ground, but hey, he threw his shoulder into him.

Play No. 1: Demps' 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Georgia:

Kr7_medium

(Photo courtesy of CBS Sports)

Demps (yellow circle) catches the kick with blockers in front of him.

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(Photo courtesy of CBS Sports)

As Demps (yellow circle) reaches the line, there are five blocks (yellow squares) that afford him such a nice hole to run through.

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(Photo courtesy of CBS Sports)

Demps (yellow circle) still has all sorts of blocks (yellow squares) occurring around him.

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(Photo courtesy of CBS Sports)

As Demps (yellow circle) makes his way past the crowd of people, he's got only one man to beat. Luckily for him, he's got some help (yellow square).

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(Photo courtesy of CBS Sports)

Demps (yellow circle) gets some help in getting past the last man (yellow square) by an old friend. Yep, that's Moses Jenkins providing the final block.

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(Photo courtesy of CBS Sports)

Jenkins slides in front of the kicker (yellow square) to slow him down and prevent one final chance at him catching Demps.

The interesting thing about these two kick returns for a touchdown, were that neither Debose or Demps were even close to being caught. I mean, they were never within two or three yards of any defender at any time. Great plays by the both of them and the blockers.

Previous Season Review editions of Theater of Operations: Quarterbacks (parts one, two, three), running backs (parts one, two, three), tight ends (one part), wide receivers (parts one, two), offensive line (parts one, two), defensive line (parts one, two, three), BUCK (one part), linebackers (parts one, two), cornerbacks (one part), safeties (parts one, two) and punt block (one part).

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