BCI Confidence Rating: Special Teams

As the Bearcats get ready to head into preseason camp Bearcat Insider gets ready for its fifth year of watching the team get ready for another exciting season of Big East football. So how much confidence do we have in the Bearcats special teams?

Pressing Question: Who will replace Kevin Huber and handle the punting chores this season? It's hard to believe that when Bearcat Insider started Kevin Huber was a major question mark becoming the team's punter. Entering his sophomore season Huber was in a battle with Brian Steel. After two back-to-back All-American seasons and a high draft choice in the NFL Draft we seem to forget these things. The job is open and it's anybody's guess as who will be the man when the team takes the field at Rutgers.

Breakdown: Here is what we know… Mike Windt will handle the long snapping as long as he's healthy. He's a veteran who has excelled in this part of the special teams.

Jake Rogers has one of the strongest legs in college football and my reports from kicking guru Tim Williams (www.upandthrough.com) have been super on the Bearcats kicker mental approach. I heard he put on a show from some youth kids at a camp this summer.

As for the punter it's anyone guess as to who will win the job and may be one of the most tested openings in camp. College coaches don't like to give out scholarships to kickers or punters until they've proven themselves. But Patrick O'Donnell was given one out of high school and many feel he'll come in with a quick chance to earn the job.

I've also heard good reports from Tim Williams on Michael Cooke and the work he's done this summer.

We all know what Mardy Gilyard can do when the football is placed in his hands. Dominick Goodman has been the guy back there with Gilyard for the most part and a replacement that can also be a threat would really give this unit another big push.

We'll have to wait and see if D.J. Woods continues as the punt return man as the program has brought in a few recruits that are super fast and built to take a ponding.

The Big If: Who wins the punting job and can they handle the pressures of the big stage the Bearcats play on. With several guys entering camp fighting for the job of being the punter it's too early to get too worked up. But early camp practices will be interesting to watch as O'Donnell shows what he has to offer.

Our Call:Jake Rogers is a solid kicker and one of the best in the country. Brian Kelly knows if he needs a 50-yard kick to win a game he's got a good chance to take a victory from Rogers leg. This is what you want from your kicker and don't be surprised if Rogers hits a new career long kick before the season is over.

Confidence Rating: This is a hard group to give a rating because of the punting job having been such a weapon the past couple of seasons. But I'll give the overall special teams a 8 rating because of the uncertainty of who the punter will be and what they bring to the table.

Mardy Gilyard will be hard pressed to match his totals from last season but he's got the tools to do better if things line up just right. Rogers I feel is ready for his best season of college football with all the work he's done this summer.

Special teams are so much more than just the punters, kickers, return specialist and long snappers. There are other guys who'll earn jobs on this units that play key roles in the success on the field. I wish we could name them all but they know who they are. If the Bearcats are to repeat as Big East Champs then special teams will play a major role in achieving this goal.

There you go… We've look at each unit on the field and gave you our impressions and who confident we are in the players who'll look to help the Bearcats win another Big East crown.

Practice starts today and Bearcat Insider will be there starting our fifth season of Bearcats football coverage. It should be another fun ride as teams will be gunning for the Bearcats each and every week and the season opener will be here before we know it.


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