Coaches preach that special teams play makes up one third of the game. Winning this area of the battle each week helps create victories. I predict this is the year of the return of "SPECIAL" special teams play at Washington.
Erik Folk surprised everyone in his first year as a starter by being one of the most accurate kickers in the conference after going 18-21. He doesn't have a super leg which hurts on kickoffs but he was able to put the ball through the uprights. Hopefully he regained a little more leg strength during the off season. Walk on Eric Guttorp will back him up.
Will Mahan had a solid year after transferring in from a JC. Mahan wasn't perfect last season but he has the ability to place the ball well. Walk on Sean Haligan will back him up and put himself in a position to compete for the starting job next season.
Danny Morovick was a luxury over the past four years. He did his job and that was to get the ball back there accurately and give the kickers the chance to be successful. Brendan Lopez will be the man this year and the early reviews are good. Evan Hudson also is a deep snapper.
Cody Bruns and Will Mahan will handle the holding duties this season.
The Huskies goal this season is to become more of a threat in the return game. UW hasn't had much of a return game since Louis Rankin graduated. Sark says he thinks it would be pretty dynamic for us to open up the 2010 season to have Chris Polk standing next to Deontae Cooper back there returning kicks. Callier, Johnson, and Fogerson are all in the mix. He said the coaches will also take a long look at Sean Parker, Kevin Smith, and Taz Stevenson.
Devin Aguilar and Cody Bruns return as Washington's principle punt returners. The most important thing about being a punt returner is to not fumble the ball and that is why you usually see experienced guys with great hands back here. All the freshman will get a long look because UW could use a game breaker at this position.
Washington added a lot of speed, depth, and strength during the off season. Those are the three main components that make special teams successful. Kids like Josh Shirley, Jessie Callier, Sean Parker, Kevin Smith, Taz Stevenson, Jamaal Kearse, Zach Fogerson and others have the ability to shine here. The added speed helps block punts and pin opposing teams back on kickoffs.