Tuesday, July 14, 2009

MWC special teams

Lest anyone accuse the Wimple of forgetting special teams, or their importance, here's a rundown of the MWC's kicking and punting crews. Just don't remind the Wimple of Utah's margin of victory over TCU last season... and how many field goals the Frogs missed (aaaaaagh!)

TCU loses its all-conference kick returner, Aaron Brown, and reliable kicker Drew Combs. The Frogs return everybody else, including kicker Ross Evans, all-conference punter Anson Kelton, returners Jeremy Kerley and Ryan Christian. Look for another top-notch year for TCU special teams; and if Evans becomes reliable, look for even more.

New Mexico returns one of the nation's best kickers, sophomore James Aho, a freshman all-American last season, and very experienced punter Adam Miller. Former lobo-back Ian Clark returns kicks. The Lobos should have some of the special teams in the conference.

Colorado State loses a very reliable kicker in Jason Smith, but adds a good kicking recruit Pete Kontadiakos, whom high hopes attend. Ben DeLine, who played as a true freshman last year while Smith was injured, may be just as reliable. The Rams' kicking should be pretty good; John Mosure returns, returning kicks. CSU could have excellent special teams.

San Diego State returns starters at kicker and punter, Lane Yoshida and Brian Stahovich, and at kick returner: Davion Mauldin. Look for improvement (especially in kick returns) and a top-tier of the conference season for special teams.

BYU sends its thunder-legged punter Sorenson on a mission, but returns the very experienced kicker Mitch Payne. Returner Austin Collie jumped to the NFL, but O'Neill Chambers returns, and will excell. Tyler Holt will punt for his first time in college. Look for a dropoff in special teams in Provo.

Utah simply will not be able to replace Louie Sakoda's punting and kicking fully. Sakoda beat TCU for the Utes, and kept them ahead of Michigan. Senior Ben Vroman, and freshmen Nick Marsh and Christopher Hoyt will share duties in some order or another. One the bright side, all-conference kick returner David Reed returns. Look for decent, but no longer otherworldly special teams from Utah.

UNLV lost a part-time punter in Dack Ishii, and returner (and monstrous wideout) Casey Flair. Returning are JUCO transfer Brendon Lamers as punter, Ben Jaekle as kicker, and Kyle Watson as both. Returners Deanta Purvis and Michael Johnson return. Look for improved special teams play in Las Vegas.

Air Force loses its all-conference kicker and punter Ryan Harrison to graduation, and likely has lost its all-conference kick returner Reggie Rembert to indefinite suspension. Likely this will result in the Falcons' special teams play, which had been a strength, becoming a weakness. Rembert's replacement is a question; Zack Bell and Brandon Geyer take over kicking duties.

Wyoming's kicking last year was miserable. Kicker Jake Scott and punter Austin McCoy return, and should be better, if only for experience. David Leonard and Marcell Gipson return as returners, but neither are as speedy as graduated Devin Moore. Look for improvement in Wyoming's special teams, but that's not saying much.


Pops said...

You may want to revisit your evaluation of Utah's special teams. Christopher Hoyt is not even on the roster as a kicker or punter. Plus you left out Sean Sellwood who is a great punter.

Ben Vromen was the #2 kick off guy in the nation. Is tough to compete when you are consistently starting at the 20 yard line.

I am sure between Vromen, Marsh & Sellwood plus great Utah special teams coaching with Coach Hill, they will be a force in the country.

T. Wimple said...

thanks for the heads up. Look for corrections after August drills get underway.

Anthony said...

I was shocked to not see a entry in here about the new media poll. TCU picked to win the conf, and no thoughts from the Wimple?

T. Wimple said...

a media poll is about as newsworthy as... well, you fill in the blank.

We'll have a genuine pre-season ranking, but only after a few weeks of fall practice. Then we'll have a clearer picture of several QB battles in the conference, and also know about the first batch of season-ending injuries...

I'm pretty sure I'm on record here somewhere saying I think BYU will beat TCU in Provo. That probably makes the Kewgies the champs-- in the Wimple Preseason Poll. More on that later.