After a tumultuous 2003 and an improving 2004, the special teams unit is equipped
to have a colossal year. Almost everybody from a year ago returns including second
team All Pac-10 kicker Alexis Serna and honorable mention punter Sam Paulescu.
Holder Colt Charles, who has excellent hands, returns as well giving the Beavers
passing options in the kicking game.
Serna looked even stronger in spring camp as he worked on his 40 yards out
range. He should once again be at the top of the conference in field goal percentage.
Paulescu was absolutely murdering the ball in April and placing it wherever
he wanted. He helped immensely with field position in 2004 and will be an even
bigger part this year.
The punt and kickoff coverage's will be solid as sophomore linebackers Andy Darkins, Derrick Doggett, and Alan Darlin anchor the units with their solid
and smart play in the middle. Each has the ability to deliver a punishing hit
causing a fumble and/or helping swing the momentum to OSU's side. The lanky
Doggett got his hands on a few punts last year and is sure to get his hands
on a few more in 2005.
The return men are set with the explosive and young duo of Sammie Stroughter
and Lamar Herron. Each showed the ability to make people miss and that they
have the speed and smarts to take one in for six. The snapping will be better this year with the arrival of Joel Cohen who works tirelessly at his craft. The team also has several capable backups in Josh Linehan, Trent Bray and Jeremy Weldon.
Bottom line, the special teams will be a positive force in most games helping
lead the team to victory. I also t helps that the players have bought into Read's
system and have really commit themselves to learning the craft of blocking,
running through lanes and tracking down the ball. The players and staff pride
themselves on their special teams play and their hard work will come to fruition
2004 Special Teams Numbers
- Second in field goal percentage .772
- Third in the Pac-10 in punt average 38.9
- Sam Paulescu 24 kicks downed inside the twenty, honorable mention All-Pac-10
- Alexis Serna, a Pac-10 best 85% (17-20) field goal percentage, second team
- Sammie Stroughter, fifth in the conference with a 7.0 punt return average