While some fans ignore the special teams aspect of the game, those who know football know just how important it is–especially at Michigan State. The Spartans pride themselves on their special teams units, and for good reason. MSU has solid coverage teams along with one of the top kicking duos in the entire country in punter Mike Sadler and place-kicker Michael Geiger.
As a true freshman last season Michael Geiger had one of the best kicking seasons in Michigan State history. After starting the season as the backup to Kevin Muma, Geiger eventually got an opportunity and took advantage by hitting 15 of his 16 field goal attempts.
His 93.8 field goal percentage in 2013 was not only an MSU record, but was also the best mark in the B1G and fourth best in the nation. Geiger was an honorable mention All-B1G pick by the media and an honorable mention All-American by SI.com.
Last season Geiger managed to live up to the high expectations that came along with being the number one kicking recruit in the entire country, but his sophomore year will present different challenges.
Missing just one field goal and two extra points (none of which were costly) made for a very smooth season for Geiger. It has yet to be determined how he responds when he misses a few kicks in a row and starts hearing some boo’s from the crowd. Kicking is extremely mental, and Geiger has yet to prove he has the mental fortitude to deal with adversity. He very well might be able to deal with failure, but until he proves it at the collegiate level it will remain a question mark.
As for the punting game, Mike Sadler is as good as it gets. Sadler has been the starting punter the past three years, and his numbers have not only been amongst the best in the country but also amongst the best all-time at MSU.
Sadler’s career 42.4 yards per punt and 9,164 punting yards are both sixth-best all-time at Michigan State. His biggest strength however is his ability to pin opponents deep in their own territory with his deadly accuracy. 41 percent of his career punts have landed inside the opponent’s 20 yard-line and 24 percent have been inside the 10.
Sadler has earned all kinds of All-B1G and All-American honors and will go into 2014 as one of the favorites to win the Ray Guy Award, which is given to the best punter in the country.
Sadler has also become known for his running ability on fake punts and fake field goals the past few seasons. He has been called upon in big situations to pick up first downs and he has gotten the job done every time.
Sadler is also an entertaining Twitter follow, even using it to state his case for the Heisman Trophy this past year.
— Mike Sadler (@Sadler_3) December 15, 2013
Michigan State is in good position with it’s special team’s units in 2014. The Spartans boast two of the top kickers in the country, so if there is any fanbase that should be conscious of special teams it’s the Spartan faithful.