Special teams are the most overlooked yet important part of any football team. With roughly one-third of the game consisting of punts, kickoffs, field goals and extra point attempts, teams that lack consistency in any facet of special teams will likely be affected by it at some point in the season.
Duck fans are all too familiar with the pain that comes from special teams-shortcomings, but 2013 could finally be the year that special teams are actually a strong point. During fall camp the competition between freshman Matt Wogan, JUCO transfer Dylan Ausherman and senior Alejandro Maldonado will be intense. The final testing will likely take place during the first few games of the season. Ausherman is a tall, wiry punter who has two years of eligibility remaining, I think his physical tools make the punting job his to lose over Maldonado. Hopefully he can reproduce recent graduate Jackson Rice’s consistency, Rice really was a great punter.
The competition between Wogan and Maldonado for placekicking duties will be intense. The Ducks made only seven field goals (of fourteen attempts) in 2012, yet still managed to score 49.5 points per game. They could have added 5 points to that average if field goals had been an actual threat from beyond the twenty yard line (went 3-9 from thirty plus yards).
Wogan should win this job, and hopefully be a stabilizer at the position for the next four years. Don’t want to ask too much from a young guy in his freshman year, but when you’re playing for the #3 ranked team in the nation a lot is expected. It sounds like he has the leg to consistently pin opponents deep on kickoffs too, but that might be be too much to wish for.
Keeping my fingers crossed.