Insiders Pre-Camp Look – Specialists

With an All-American at the helm the Bearcats have a trusted source to gain solid field position. Can the rest of the specialist keep up? Let's take a look.

Another area the Bearcats should be strong is in field position from the punting game. Kevin Huber earned All-American honors and is set to have another great season to close out his Bearcats career.

The leg is there to take his career to the next level if he can show the same form he did last season. Overall there shouldn't be any question marks when it comes to the McNicholas High School product.

Here is where the fun begins for the Bearcats coaching staff.

Jake Rogers returns looking to find the form that allowed him to show off his powerful leg with a 55-yard field goal against Oregon State. Inconsistency is the word used to best describe the type of season Rogers had in 2007.

Does another year of kicking at the college level cure those ills? Or will Rogers again struggle to find the center of the uprights when it matters most?

Going 9-of-12 inside the 40 is helpful but overall the Warsaw, Indiana product was 11-19 in field goals and 51-54 in PAT kicks.

Rogers has a strong leg but must find a groove and keep it for the entire season. A years experience should help but others are looking for a chance.

Brandon Yingling has shown flashes that he's capable of being the kicker many though he'd be coming out of Mason High School. An off-season of working on both the physical and mental aspects of the game has Yingling confident he'll push Rogers for the starting job in camp.

If Yingling and Rogers both fail the staff would look at Mark Tabar a true freshman out of Colerain High School known for kicking game winning field goals when it matters most. Tabar has size at 6-foot-2 and could push for a chance in camp.

The staff could also look at St. Xavier product Danny Milligan if all fails. The wide receiver recruit set an Ohio High School record with 40 career field goals and while he's not blessed with the strongest leg, he may be the most consistent of the group.

Overall Kevin Huber must do what he does best and someone must step up and make the kicking game one that can win games if a Big East Championship is to be won.

One area the Bearcats have worked hard to improve is in the return game. Dominick Goodman, Marshwan Gilyard and DeAngelo Smith have all taken turns at different areas of the return game with some success.

With some of the recruits that have been added the past couple of seasons fans should expect continued improvement as the talent level increases. Don't be surprised if players like Tahree McQueen or even an Isaiah Pead get hard looks.

Gone are the sure hands of Haruki Nakamura in the punt return game, but more a more athletic return specialist capable of taking one the distance would help ease the loss.

While his name is rarely mentioned, Mike Windt has proven to be a solid long-snapper with a possible pro career ahead of him. He'll be challenged by Alex Apyan in camp.

While we can't name all of those that make up the different units, special teams coach Mike Elston has done a great job with schemes and finding the right personnel to get the most out of the group. As better athletes continue to make the Bearcats their college choice this area should continue to improve.

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