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  • Writer's pictureNoah Beausoleil

UFL Special Teams Power Rankings - A Week 8 Review

Updated: May 31

The playoff picture is becoming ever clearer as teams secure their spots in the conference championships and the season winds down. Can anyone make a late-season run and break into the top 3 of the Power Rankings? Let's discuss how the UFL Special Teams units performed in this week's review.

 

Special Teams Player of the Week

Matt Coghlin - USFL Conference

Two of the UFL's top Kickers faced off during Week 8 when the Memphis Showboats travelled to Detroit to take on the Michigan Panthers. Even though Jake Bates and the Panthers won the game, Matt Coghlin was the real standout. His first field goal, and his longest of the night, was from 55 yards out as time expired in the first half. Coghlin stayed calm under extreme pressure as an edge rusher broke free and drilled a line drive that just snuck inside the right upright. Later in the game, the Showboats lined Coghlin up for a 32-yard field goal when a penalty pushed the unit back. The 5-yard increase in distance and being iced by a penalty didn't bother Coghlin, and he made the 37-yard field goal with ease. Coghlin has been the most accurate kicker through 8 weeks, boasting an impressive 93% completion rate on field goals.

 

Marquette King - XFL Conference

After having one of his worst statistical performances last week, Marquette King rallied and returned in Week 8, putting up some impressive numbers. He punted 4 times, averaging 52.3 yards and 44.3 net yards per punt. While he has averaged over 50 yards per punt before, this is the first time all season he was able to average over 40 net yards per punt. What's more impressive is that he had 2 of his 4 punts (50%) remain inside the opponent's 20-yard line, bringing his total to 9 for the 2024 season. King leads the UFL in average yards per attempt and percentage of punts over 50 yards. He is also second in the UFL in average net yards per attempt (36.8) and percentage of punts inside the 20-yard line (41%).

 

Kickers

  Kickers made 10 of their 14 attempts this week, completing just 71.4% of their field goals and marking the lowest completion percentage we've seen all season. There was only 1 field goal attempt from over 50 yards. Here are the UFL Week 8 Kicker Power Rankings:

Standouts;

  1. Andre Szmyt (STL) was the difference maker in the Battlehawks' 5-point victory over the DC Defenders this week. While neither of his 2 field goal attempts were over 37 yards, if he had missed one, St. Louis might not have won.

  2. Matt McCrane (DC) made both of his field goals this week from 48 yards and 49 yards, respectively. This comes after missing a 43-yard field goal in Week 7.

  3. Ramiz Ahmed (BHAM) has struggled recently, missing a field goal in each of his last 3 games, including a 41-yarder last week. This week he came back and made his lone field goal attempt from 45 yards away.


Slip-ups;

  1. Jake Bates (MICH) recorded his first indoor miss at home this week, missing a 51-yard field goal wide right. Despite this miss, he is still 100% on kicks under 50 yards and has made more kicks over 40 yards than any other kicker.

  2. JJ Molson (HOU) missed a 51-yard field goal wide left this week, marking his second miss of the season. He has only missed from beyond 50 yards.

  3. Ryan Santoso (SAN) struggled this week, making just 2 of his 4 field goal attempts. He missed wide right on 48-yard and 38-yard field goals.

 

Punters

  There were a season-low 19 punts this week, with punters averaging 48.4 yards and 39.9 net yards per punt, both of which are season highs. Punters kept 6 punts (32%) inside the 20-yard line, matching the season average of 31%. However, for the first time all season, there was not a single punt inside the 10-yard line. A season-high 53% of punts traveled over 50 yards, including 3 that resulted in fair catches. For the first time all season, there was not a single punt that went out of bounds or resulted in a penalty. Great job, punters! Here are the UFL Week 8 Punter Power Rankings:

Standouts;

  1. Brad Wing's (SAN) lone punt travelled 43 yards before slipping through the hands of the opposing returner inside the 20-yard line. While the returner was able to recover his muffed punt, he could not gain any return yardage, meaning Wing netted the full 43 yards.

  2. Matt White (MEM) punted 4 times, averaging 51.3 yards and 49.2 net yards per punt, including 1 punt that remained inside the 20-yard line. This was by far his best week statistically, with 3 of his punts (75%) travelling over 50 yards, including 2 that resulted in fair catches.

  3. Brock Miller (MICH) had 3 punts this week with an average of 46.7 yards and 41 net yards per punt. So far this season, Miller has averaged more than 40 net yards in 4 of his 8 games. This week, he had 1 punt travel over 50 yards and another that landed inside the 20-yard line.


  Slip-ups;

  1. Drue Chrisman (BHAM) had a fine performance statistically, punting 2 times and averaging 40.5 yards, but poor coverage resulted in him averaging just 22.5 net yards per punt. Chrisman was released shortly after the game, with Colby Wadman coming off IR and rejoining the team for Week 9. Over his 4-week stint in the UFL, Chrisman showed he could consistently flip the field about 40 yards, but, whether due to field position or leaky coverage, failed to pin opponents deep inside their own territory. We wish him the best of luck moving forward.

 

Kickoff Specialists

  There were 40 kickoffs this week with Kickoff specialists averaging 69.2 yards per attempt, with 19 kickoffs (48%) travelling for more than 70 yards. They also kept 10 kickoffs inside the 30-yard line, accounting for about 25% of all attempts. These figures are all marginally above their respective season averages. Here are the UFL Week 8 Kickoff Specialist Power Rankings;

Standouts;

  1. Jake Bates (MICH) kicked off 5 times, averaging 70 yards per kickoff, including 3 that traveled further than 70 yards, and 2 that remained inside the opponent's 30-yard line. Bates leads the UFL in punts over 70 yards but lags in pinning opposing offences deep.

  2. Ryan Santoso (SAN) had 5 kickoffs averaging 70 yards per attempt, including 3 (60%) that travelled further than 70 yards. He also had 3 kickoffs remaining inside the 30-yard line, the most he has ever had in a single week.

  3. Sterling Hofrichter (SLT) has officially taken over kickoff responsibilities from Andre Szmyt. Through 2 weeks, he has kicked off 11 times, averaging 72 yards per attempt, with over 70% of his kickoffs travelling over 70 yards. If he can continue at this rate while also increasing the number of kickoffs kept inside the 30-yard line, he might climb into the top 3 by the end of the season.


  Slip-ups;

  1. Ramiz Ahmed (BHAM) kicked off 7 times for an average of 66.7 yards per attempt, his lowest average all season. Just 14% of his kickoffs remained inside the 30-yard line compared to his season average of 41%. This was an off game for Ahmed, and I expect him to clean things up by the end of the season.

 

Long Snappers

  There were 19 long snaps shown in this week's highlight packages, including 14 field goal snaps and 5 punt snaps. Long snappers found the strike zone on 12 of the 14 field goal snaps (86%), but strikes were only recorded on 3 of their 5 punt snaps (60%). Overall, the total strike percentage for Week 8 was 79%, which is below the season average of 84%. Only one long snapper assisted in coverage teams this week, recording a single assisted tackle. Here are the UFL Week 8 Long Snapper Power Rankings:

Standouts;

  1. Alex Matheson (STL) continues to impress on film. This week, he had another 2 field goal snaps that were both recorded as strikes. I would like to see him contribute in coverage with an assisted tackle or two before crowning him the best long-snapper in the UFL.

  2. Rex Sunahara (SAN) had his most complete week yet, with 4 field goal snaps and a punt snap being recorded as strikes.


  Slip-ups;

  1. Ryan Langan (BHAM) struggled this week, with his lone field goal snap straying too far to the right, and one punt snap that was a touch low.

 

Kickoff Returners

  Kickoff returners didn't stand out much this week, returning 40 kickoffs and averaging 24 yards per return. There were just 7 kickoff returns (18%) that travelled more than 30 yards, with a long of 44 yards. There was also a single fumble recorded this week. Here are the UFL Week 8 Kickoff Returner Power Rankings:

Standouts;

  1. Chris Rowland (DC) returned 6 kickoffs for a total of 161 yards, averaging about 27 yards per return. He had 2 kickoff returns travel more than 30 yards, including a 36-yard return, his longest of the night.

  2. Pooka Williams (SAN) returns! After being released by DC, Williams was signed by the San Antonio Brahmas. In his Week 8 debut, he returned 3 kickoffs for a total of 93 yards, averaging 31 yards per return. Williams also recorded a new season-long return of 44 yards.

  3. Terry Wright (MICH) was signed after sitting out the first 3 quarters of the season. In his UFL debut, he returned 4 kickoffs, averaging about 26 yards per return. His longest return of the night, and his UFL career, was 30 yards.


  Slip-ups;

  1. Titus Swen (MEM)  returned 6 kickoffs but averaged only 19.8 yards per return. Despite playing well for 4 weeks in a row and establishing himself as one of the top kickoff returners in the league, his performance this week was unimpressive.

  2. Reggie Roberson Jr. (HOU) returned 5 kickoffs for a total of 101 yards, averaging 20.2 yards per return. For the second consecutive week, he muffed the ball during a kickoff return, highlighting Houston's ball security issue

 

Punt Returners

  Punt returners continued to struggle for a second consecutive week, averaging just 8.7 yards over 14 returns. If not for a 40-yard return, the longest punt return of the season, they would have averaged about 6 yards per return. There were just 2 returns (14%) that travelled further than 15 yards, the fewest in a single week all season. For the second week in a row, punt returners recorded 3 fumbles, matching the number of fumbles from Weeks 1-6 combined. Here are the UFL Week 8 Punt Returner Power Rankings:

Standouts;

  1. Amari Rodgers (BHAM) has returned after missing 2 weeks due to injury. He made the most of his lone return, ripping off a 40-yard return, the longest of the season!

  2. Marquez Stevenson (SAN) was the only other punt returner to record a return over 15 yards.


  Slip-ups;

  1. Justin Hall (HOU) muffed his lone punt return but luckily recovered it.

  2. Terry Wright (MICH) did not enjoy as much success with punt returns, returning 2 punts for a total of 8 yards. He also struggled with ball security, muffing a punt.

  3. Steven Jones Jr. (ARL) fielded a punt for the first time this week but muffed the return. He recovered it but was unable to gain any yards.

 

Coverage Teams

  Coverage teams across the UFL performed decently this week, allowing an average of 8.7 yards on 14 punt returns and 24.6 yards on 39 kickoff returns. However, the units struggled to play clean football, receiving 12 penalties totalling 106 yards. Here are the UFL Week 8 Coverage Team Power Rankings:

Standouts;

  1. The DC Defenders allowed 0 yards on 1 punt return and an average of 23.4 yards over 5 kickoff returns. They continue to perform at a high level and, if they can avoid penalties, might jump into the top position.

  2. The Michigan Panthers got back on track this week after a rough stretch of games. They allowed an average of 9 yards over 3 punt returns and an average of 23.8 yards across 5 kickoffs. These numbers are below their season averages and are a promising sign as we head into the final weeks. For the first time in 3 weeks, they did not receive a single penalty on special teams. They’ll need to continue to play well to stop elite returners in the playoffs.


  Slip-ups;

  1. The Memphis Showboats limited returners to an average of 4 yards on 2 punt returns and 25.5 yards across 4 kickoffs. However, they received 4 special teams penalties totalling 40 yards, the most they have received in a single week.

  2. The Birmingham Stallions struggled to play clean football, accumulating another 2 special teams penalties for 26 yards. They now have the highest number of penalty yards in the UFL, indicating a persistent issue with penalties.

  3. The Houston Roughnecks also suffered from penalties on special teams. However, the lower penalty yards indicate that the mistakes were mostly procedural or mental rather than personal fouls.

 

Individual ST Stats

  Here's who is making an impact on Special Teams;

 

Here are your most penalized Special Teams Players;

 

Holders

  Here are the UFL Week 8 Holder Power Rankings;

Standouts;

  1. Matt White (MEM) handled a high snap and was able to wrangle it in. He has been one of the top holders in the UFL, consistently securing errant snaps and setting his kicker up for success.

 

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