2008 Team Preview: Special Teams

Starters

Kicker-Jay Wooten

Punter-Terrence Brown

Kick/Punt Returner-Brandon Tate

Deep Snapper-Mark House?

Backups

K-Reid Phillips,Trase Jones

P-Reid Phillips, Grant Schallock

KR/PR-Anyone fast

Overview:

The most glaring departure from last year is four-year starting kicker Connor Barth. The most important task for any placekicker is consistency. With Barth, we knew we could pretty much rely on three points if we got inside the 30. If Wooten (one of Butch Davis’ inaugural signings) can be reliable inside the 25, I think that’s as much as we can expect from a baptism by fire. Personally, I’m rooting for Reid Phillips to earn the starting PK job. Then we can have a Terrence and Phillips special teams corps, if for no other reason than to provide fart jokes for this space every week.

Any reason to use this picture is a good reason.

Punter: This is the ACC, meaning that everyone has a pretty good defense and a pretty bad offense. This places field position, and by proxy punting, at a particular premium. Terence Brown didn’t contest for any awards, but he should be a solid punter in his senior year.

Kick and Punt Returns: The discussion at this position begins and ends with Brandon Tate. He is the most prolific return man in school history, and may be the best in ACC history in terms of statistics, with over 3,000 career return yards and five touchdowns. He is a danger anytime he gets the ball, and he will make a big difference in field position for the offense.

Deep Snapper: Like most of special teams, This is one of the game’s aspects that almost no one notices. Unless of course, something goes wrong. At least one bad snap bad hold of a snap made last year went a long way toward UNC’s 34-31 loss at East Carolina. The responsibility at this position will be up to Mark House or a modified traditional center. As for who’s holding the snap…we won;t know until the season starts.

Verdict: Brandon is obviously a big help to any team. However, I don’t see the rest of our special teams as a particular strength or weakness.

Motto…Fingers Crossed: We’re not your buddies, guy!

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