Friday, April 16, 2010

2010 Spring Preview- Special Teams

Players Lost: Lones Seiber (K)

Players Returning: Ryan Tydlacka (P), Craig McIntosh (K)

Incoming Freshmen: Joe Mansour (K)


Special Teams for Kentucky football has been somewhat of a lightning rod among fans. Even Coach Ortmayer has taken some heat for the unit’s performance. The Cats lose Lones Seiber who made every fan UK fan in the state hold their breath every time he went on the field.

Special Teams are a huge part of every football game and Joker Phillips has changed the name to “Special Forces.” The Cats must play better in the facet of the game. UK will add a few pieces to the special teams this summer when Joe Mansour, Raymond Sanders, Jerrell Priester and Mychal Bailey among others enroll.

Joe Mansour was named to the All-Georgia Decade team and should make an immediate impact. Mansour has the leg and accuracy to make field goals consistently from 50 yards. Last year when Rich Brooks was frustrated with kickoffs and mentioned it would be addressed next year, he was referring to Mansour. With that said, Tydlacka is becoming a better punter and McIntosh is going to push Mansour to get better.

Typically Randall Cobb handles the punt return duties, but don’t be surprised to see E.J. Fields, Raymond Sanders or even Jerrell Priester back deep at times. Cobb will likely be the main punt returner because he is proven, but these other guys could receive a few looks as well.

Derrick Locke, Randall Cobb and even Winston Guy have all returned kickoffs during their career. However, with the Cats adding Priester, Sanders and Mychal Bailey in this recruiting class, they could lineup deep as well. Personally, I have been a fan of Winston Guy returning kicks as he runs fearless.

As far as the kickoff and punt teams are concerned, the Cats will add more speed this year. Just like the linebackers, UK’s kickoff and punt teams could be the fastest in history. Covering kicks are huge and now the Cats have the speed to keep up with the rest of the SEC. Look for guys like Dakota Tyler, Josh Gibbs, Jarvis Walker, Mychal Bailey and Dale Trimble to make an impact on special teams this fall.

The key for UK will be repetitions during fall camp. With Joker’s new mentality, the Cats will be much improved. By calling the team “Special Forces,” it makes guys buy into the importance and want to be a part of something special. In the end, I believe “Special Forces” could win this football team games in 2010.

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