The USF Bulls vs. the #4 Florida State Seminoles game will showcase two different kicking strategies, reports the Tampa Bay Times. The NCAA moved kickoffs up five yards and moved the touchback to the 25 yard line for the 2012 season, looking to limit high-speed collisions between kick coverage and return teams.
USF, who ranked fifth from the bottom in kickoff coverage for 2011, has gladly taken advantage of the easier touchbacks. Sophomore kicker Marvin Closs had touchbacks on his first 14 kicks this season. Florida State takes the opposite approach, attempting to land the ball within the 10 yard line and trusting an aggressive coverage unit to keep return men short of the 25. FSU averaged 15.2 yards allowed per return in 2011, 10th in the nation. Senior Dustin Hopkins only had a touchdback in two of nine kickoffs in FSU's win over Wake Forest, with the first five drives starting within the 20.
USF's strategy is conservative, but it will give them a small bit of control and predictability as they face the fourth ranked team in the nation.