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tBBC Pre-Spring Outlook: Special Teams

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Brandon Zimmerman

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Pre-Spring Outlook: Special Teams
Brandon Zimmerman
via our good friends at Buckeye Battle Cry
Visit their fantastic blog and read the full article (and so much more) here


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With the recruits signed, sealed, and almost delivered it is officially time to look forward to the 2016 football season. While the Buckeyes are already getting ready behind the scenes, things do not start to jump into another gear until the Buckeyes begin their spring practice on March 8th. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be taking a look at each positional group for the Buckeyes and discussing who might start and how the depth chart may shake up. Today, we take a look at the special teams’ side of the house where the Buckeyes return their starting kicker and punter but have to replace their long-snapper and return men.

THE PLAYERS

The rock star of the group is Australian punter senior Cameron Johnston who enters his fourth season of playing football. Johnston had 58 punts last year which averaged 43.9


The Punting Rock-Star


yards. He had 26 punts land inside the 20 and he had 18 punts go over 50 yards. His longest punt on the season was 67 yards.

Junior kicker Sean Nuernberger was in a stiff battle all of last year with Jack Willoughby for the starting kicker job. For most of the year, Willoughby won the job before being overtaken by Nuernberger towards the end of the season. This year Nuernberger is poised to regain a stranglehold on the starting kicking job which he had when he was a freshman. For the season, he made 3 of 4 field goal attempts with a long of 38 yards.

The new long-snapper will be redshirt freshman Liam McCullough. He was rated as the #1 long-snapper coming out of high school and will be relied on heavily to replace Bryce Haynes who was so vital to Johnston’s success on punts.

Waiting patiently to get his turn at punter, Drue Chrisman joins the Buckeyes this year and will take a greyshirt waiting for Johnston to graduate. Chrisman was the #1 punter coming out of high school this year.

At returner, the Buckeyes have to replace their punt returner and possibly their kick returner with Samuel poised to start at running back. The team is loaded with athletes who


Austin Mack is one to watch at either return position.


are more than capable of taking these spots. The player with the most experience at returning is H-back Dontre Wilson. Wilson is a threat to take it to the house every time he touches the ball. Young guys such as Austin Mack, Parris Campbell, Demario McCall, and Eric Glover-Williams are some of the options of who could step up and make an impact this year.

PREDICTED DEPTH CHART

P

  1. Cameron Johnston

K

  1. Sean Nuernberger

LS

  1. Liam McCullough

PR

  1. Eric Glover-Williams
  2. Austin Mack

KR

  1. Dontre Wilson
  2. Parris Campbell



The returners are the only real battle of the off-season and I have Wilson and Glover-Williams coming out as victorious. I think the real wildcard for both return spots is going to be McCall and how quickly he can adjust to the speed of college football. I could easily see him getting a long look at punt and kick returner. The tough thing will be whether they want to burn a redshirt to purely play special teams. I know, I know Urban Meyer doesn’t care about redshirting guys and he expects 18 true freshmen to play but we all know that isn’t entirely true. He tends to redshirt quite a bit.



OUTLOOK SCHEDULE

Quarterbacks – 15 Feb

Running Backs – 17 Feb

Wide Receivers – 19 Feb

Tight Ends – 22 Feb

Offensive Line – 24 Feb

Defensive Line – 26 Feb

Linebackers – 29 Feb

Secondary – 2 Mar

Special Teams – 4 Mar



The post Pre-Spring Outlook: Special Teams appeared first on The Buckeye Battle Cry: Ohio State News and Commentary.

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