When Bradley Pinion puts toe to leather, not much happens.
That's good news for Clemson's kickoff coverage team.
Correcting a glaring weaknesses from a year ago, Clemson currently ranks among the nation's leaders in kickoff coverage, allowing just 16.0 yards per return.
That number is deceiving.
When Pinion kicks off, the true number is closer to zero.
The tall, strong-legged sophomore from Concord, N.C. has the nation's best touchback percentage at 92.3, with no returns on 12 of his 13 kickoffs.
The one return against Pinion came on Saturday, when a South Carolina State player chose to return a ball from several yards deep in the end zone. Except for a rare missed tackle by Spencer Shuey, he would have been stopped inside the 10.
A year ago, Pinion had touchbacks on 18 of his 26 kickoffs (69.2 percent), while Spencer Benton was 32-of-70 (45.7 percent). Benton's kickoffs were returned 38 times for a 20.4 average, while Pinion's were returned eight times for a 40.9 average.
Opponents' average starting field position when Benton kicked off was the 24-yard line. Average starting kickoffs on Pinion's kickoffs was the 32.
Pinion said Tuesday that he attributes his improvement to a heavy summer workload, as he honed his consistency on both kickoffs and punts and improved his technical ability to 'drive through' the ball on kickoffs.
Pinion's No. 1 ranking in touchback percentage is Clemson's best in early-season NCAA statistics.
As a team, the Tigers rank 10th in sacks (3.5 per game), 15th in tackles for loss (8.5), 18th in interceptions, 20th in turnover margin and 24th in scoring.