Reviewing Georgia State’s list of impact players: No. 10 Matt Hubbard

Photo courtesy of Georgia State Sports.

Photo courtesy of Georgia State Sports.

Before the season I listed the 10 players who I thought would most impact Georgia State’s football season.

Over the next 10 days, I’ll review the list and detail how each player performed in the 1-11, 0-8 in the Sun Belt campaign.

As they were listed, we will count down from 10 to 1.

Starting with….

No. 10 Matt Hubbard

Here’s what I wrote:

How can Hubbard make a difference? Because the offense still doesn’t have an established quarterback, offensive line, running back or pass-catching threat outside of Robert Davis, this year’s success will likely depend upon a defense that returns several starters and backups. (That’s not to say those elements on offense won’t come together, but as of right now no one knows because they haven’t played together).

For that defense to increase its chances of success, Hubbard will need to pin opponents deep.

He is more than capable of doing that.

He struggled some at the beginning of the year because he was asked to adopt a more directional approach to kicking. Once he got the hang of that, Hubbard was once again a valuable player.

Best-case scenario: Hubbard at least meets last year’s average of 42 yards per punt. Doing so will make the opponent’s offense have to work that much harder.

Worst-case scenario: The coverage teams struggle and Hubbard’s net of 36.4 yards-per-punt decreases. That six-yard difference between gross and net may not seem like much, but it adds up over the course of a game, especially when you punt as often as Hubbard did last year (78 times).

So, was it the best-case scenario or worst-case scenario?

The worst-case scenario.

Hubbard feel out of favor during the loss at Washington in which he was supposed to punt to certain spots, but instead punted down the middle of the field.

Wil Lutz took over the punting duties for most of the rest of the season.

Hubbard punted 33 times with an average of 34.9, far below last year’s mark of 42. Some of that loss of distance may be attributed to the directional punting style that coach Trent Miles prefers.

Additionally, the net of 31.9 (a combination of all punts) was far below Hubbard’s net of 36.4 from last year.

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