2007 Spring Football Preview: Special Teams

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Frank Beamer values special teams more than any other coach in the nation, so
much so that he personally coaches the Tech special teams. He’ll have his work
cut out for him this spring, as the Hokies must replace their kicker, punter and
long snapper. With an offense that’s likely to struggle again, Beamer must get
as much out of his special teams as possible.

Last year Brandon Pace was amazing, hitting 18 of his 19 field goal attempts.
That kind of accuracy will be very hard to replace. The Hokies must also find a
replacement for punter Nic Schmitt, who averaged 42.2 yards per punt last year.
To top it off, snapper Nick Leeson is gone. Leeson was such a good snapper that
he is getting some looks from NFL scouts.

Scott King and Bart McMillan will replace Leeson, but who will replace such
experienced and talented kickers like Pace and Schmitt?

Kicker

Seniors
Jud Dunlevy and Jared Develli will battle it out for the kicking duties. Beamer
has used each player to kick off in the past. Develli has the stronger leg and
routinely puts his kicks through the back of the end zone. Dunlevy’s leg is
strong as well, but not quite as strong as Develli’s. He does a better job of
getting height on his kicks than Develli.

Chances are, both of these guys will be used to kick off this season. They’ve
both been used in the past, along with Brandon Pace, so there’s no reason to
think that will change in 2007.

As far as who will serve as Tech’s field goal kicker, that’s another story.
Beamer will likely choose whichever player shows the most accuracy during
practice. Once Beamer makes the decision, don’t look for a change to take place
unless the player really struggles during the season. Beamer puts a premium on
choosing one guy and sticking with him.

Other possible candidates are Matt Waldron and Dustin Keys. Waldron is a
transfer from Penn State, and Keys has been a member of the team in the past but
has never seen any game

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