Special teams took a lot of flack last season in several areas. The kickers were adequate but the coverage teams were simply atrocious at times. If the Huskies want to improve their record next season and return to a bowl game they need to play better on special teams.
I have always felt that special teams performance is representative of overall depth, experience, speed, and talent. Overall the team will be improved once again in those areas and we should see a better performance from these units in the coming year.
Erik Folk returns for one more year to take care kickoffs, field goals, and PAT's. Folk has had a decent career at Washington but the one knock on him has been the strength of his leg on kickoffs. Perhaps this is the off season that he picks up that extra 5-10 yards.
Cody Bruns returns as the holder while Brendan Lopez returns as the long snapper. Both of them did a good job last season. Bruns has a decent arm he is also the designated fake kick trigger man.
Will Mahan and Kiel Rasp return for one more season. Mahan went down with a freak knee injury last season and Rasp stepped in and did an exceptional job. Going into spring you would have to describe this position as solid.
Washington was one of the worst kick coverage teams in the country at the start of last season. Things got better later in the season when the regulars started taking over but there is a lot of room for improvement. I think one key thing that is in the teams favor is an extra year of experience for the kids who were thrown into the fire at the start of last season. The team should be faster and more physical this season and that should be another plus.
It seemed like for most of the year that Cody Bruns and Devin Aguilar's main job was to either fair catch or simply not fumble the ball. Washington was last in the Pac 10 in kick off return yardage.The Huskies averaged only 4.9 yards per return in 2010. Oregon who led the league averaged 17. This season could be a lot different with a healthy Kevin Smith and newcomer Marvin Hall possibly competing for the job.
Kick Off Returns
Guess what? The Huskies were also last in the conference in kickoff returns in 2010. Jessie Callier did a nice job at times but the guys in front of him need to do a better job of blocking. Deontae Cooper, Kevin Smith, and Marvin Hall are among the candidates to line up next to Callier in the end zone next season.