Garrett Rivas struggled a bit Saturday. He missed a couple kicks from inside
of 40 yards and also did not do well on kickoffs (but
Ross Ryan does that anyway). Is this a reason for concern? Probably not, Rivas
had a rough last spring practice last year too, but turned in a decent year.
It will be a close race between last year’s starter Ross Ryan and redshirt
freshman Zoltan Mesko. Mesko has a cannon for a leg. In warm-ups he stood on
one sideline and punted it over the opposite sideline and into the stands! That
said, he can be inconsistent. For as many as he booms, he will throw in a few
sub par kicks here and there as well. Ryan does not have as powerful of a leg,
but he is much more consistent.
The few players who figure to be returning punts: Steve Breaston, Mario Manningham,
and Leon Hall all fielded the ball well. In fact, between the three, no punts
hit the ground.
Johnny Sears was tried as a return man but misjudged and fumbled with punts
all day. He did show decent burst on one kick return though.
Carlos Brown, Alijah Bradley, Doug Dutch and Carl Tabb were the other players
who got a chance to field kicks and punts.
It's tough to tell how good these units will be from the practice. The usual
standouts on special teams, Darnell Hood and Carl Tabb are back again. Brandon Harrison, Carson Butler, Tim Jamison, Chris Graham and Charles Stewart form
the core group of players who will be on the coverage teams. Stewart, in addition
to having a great day at cornerback, looks like he will be an excellent special
teamer. Brandon Logan figures to be another standout with his speed.