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Except for kicker and punter, there is no more important position on special teams than gunner on the punt team.
People talk about the question marks at quarterback, the defensive line, linebacker, etc. However, nobody is mentioning the gunner position. The Hokies gave up punt returns for touchdowns to Alabama and Maryland, and poor punt coverage basically cost them that Maryland game, all else being equal.
William Likely returned a punt 63 yards for a touchdown to tie the game at 7 in the second quarter. Here’s a screen cap at the moment Likely caught the football, and you can see that there are no Hokies within ten yards of him. The gunners aren’t even in the frame....
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