|The touchdown celebration heard 'round the world.|
Photo via KLSU
That number has been the most mind-blowing number this year for LSU football. It is the number of LSU do everything cornerback Tyrann Mathieu.
"The Honey Badger" received Heisman attention after a dominant start to the season. But after a below average performance versus Tennessee and being
There is no denial Mathieu has been an explosive playmaker for LSU. But the number on the back of Mathieu's jersey isn't the craziest number 7 that applies to LSU Football in 2011.
That number in the opening graph is referring to another player on LSU's team that Mathieu is heavily involved with for the Bayou Bengals. The "7" represents the number of punt return yards LSU has allowed this season through eight games.
The most dominant player on LSU's team this season is Australian punter Brad Wing.
Only giving up seven yards this year on punts is unprecedented. To have more wins than punt return yards given up on the season is unheard of, much less it being eight games into the year.
Wing is the first to admit that the punt defense involves more than just him. The punt coverage team, led by "gunners" Mathieu and fellow cornerback Ron Brooks, has stifled returners and downed the ball inside the 10 yard line.
But Wing is the straw that stirs the drink. A big reason why Wing's ability to kick an oblong object far has been the buzz he has created during games that doesn't involve actually punting the pigskin.
Wing was the first to fall victim to a rule that takes away points when a player celebrates before reaching the end zone. Wing taunted early on a fake punt he ran in for a touchdown against Florida. The points were taken off the board for his actions. This received widespread national attention for it being a questionable rule.
Wing spoke to me about the incident a few days after LSU's dominant victory over Florida.
The Australian also caught the attention of bloggers nationwide when he posed for a picture in the final minutes of LSU's thumping of Tennessee. SB Nation called Wing "the most interesting punter in the world."
Putting all of that aside, Wing has been LSU's most dominant player. His punts have had great hang time, which has forced fair catches from the opposition. He has 15 punts of over 50 yards and 11 punts inside of the 20 yard line for the season.
Just as impressive as his physical abilities, Wing has extremely high football IQ. Against Auburn, the returner was line up deep in his own territory to cope with Wing's distance. Instead of booming it, Wing chose to hit a lower kick with a lot of spin that only went for about 30 yards in the air. What looked to be a shank ended up being a ball that took a huge roll and was downed at the 4 yard line.
Wing has no weakness as a punter and can easily be a big time player at the next level. He also has camera presence, which is not usually associated with punters...
God Bless Australia!