Spring practices have begun at the University of Texas. From February 19th to February 27th, Hook’em Headlines will breakdown each position group and the spring outlook for that position group. Today, we wrap up the spring preview with special teams.
Mack Brown has no designated coach on the staff that is in charge of special teams.
Kickoff Specialist: Nick Rose
Place kicker: Nick Jordan or Anthony Fera
Punt Returner: Quandre Diggs
While key players on special teams are usually freshmen and sophomores that aren’t currently getting much playing time. But I expect Daje Johnson to be the primary returner for the Longhorns this fall. Punter might be Will Russ or Anthony Fera depending on Nick Jordan’s ability to improve his range as a place kicker.
There is no question that special teams cost the Texas Longhorns at least one game this past season (West Virginia) and special teams miscues diminished the ability to keep some games close. If Nick Jordan can separate himself as the starting place kicker, I believe Anthony Fera will be the starting punter. If he can’t, I could see Anthony Fera handling both kicking and punting duties like Justin Tucker did in 2011.
Special teams must work on being more consistent this season. Nothing kills momentum in a football game than a special teams miscue. Daje Johnson will hopefully break off a few returns for touchdowns. I am not sold that Quandre Diggs will keep his starting job as the punt returner. If he is running all over the field as the free safety, I doubt he will have the energy to make big plays as a punt returner.