Since the moment he was hired, Head Coach Mike McCoy has been adamant that special teams is every bit as important as the team’s offense and defense. It takes all three sides of the ball to win games in the National Football League, and McCoy was especially pleased with the unit’s performance this past Sunday.
“One bright spot was our special teams,” McCoy said. “They did an outstanding job, besides the missed kick. Trindon (Holliday) is a very explosive player. The last couple of years everyone has seen what he can do at this level. Anytime he touches the ball, he can score. Mike (Scifres) and Nick (Novak) did a nice job, whether it was kickoffs or punting the football, of pinning them in the end zone on kickoffs.”
A major reason for their effectiveness was the outstanding punting of Scifres. The veteran had five punts averaging a hang-time of 4.72 seconds, and that includes one after a bad snap that he hurried to get off which ended up lasting only 3.64. Taking that out of the equation, he booted punts lasting 5.43, 5.19, 4.81 and 4.49 for an average of 4.98 seconds. Any punt that lasts above 4.8 seconds is considering excellent, and exceeding 5.0 seconds is particularly exceptional. Scifres for the most part averaged above that against the Broncos.
Heading into the game, McCoy mentioned on numerous occasions how lethal Holliday can be in the return game. After neutralizing him on Sunday, McCoy praised both Scifres and the coaching staff for their impressive effort.
“Coaches (Kevin Spencer) and (Craig Aukerman) did a phenomenal job of coaching the players during the week and they executed the plan,” he said. “That was huge. You play a team like this, sometimes, and you roll yourself asleep because you think the offense and defense play such a big roll and all of a sudden (Trindon Holliday) makes an explosive play and changes a two score game to a three score game, because you were lazy covering a kick. That was really the big bright spot of the game."
Scifres’ five punts traveled a total distance of 238 yards, averaging 47.6 yards with a net of 46.4. Four of his punts landed inside the 20, and he had a long of 61. Scifres’ impressive performance against the Broncos comes on the heels of another standout effort against the Washington Redskins. His first two attempts landed inside the one-yard line, which led directly to a defensive touchdown by
Overall, Scifres has held up his end of the bargain for a special teams unit that McCoy has been quite pleased with heading into Sunday’s match against the Miami Dolphins.