Spring Preview: Special Teams

The Bufffs boast one of the best kicker/punter tandems in the country in <A HREF=[PlayerNode:1221196]>Mason Crosby</A> and <A HREF=[PlayerNode:1223689]>John Torp</A>. Inside, a look at CU's special teams as spring ball approaches.

Coaches: Various
Key Players: Alvin Barnett, Hugh Charles, Mason Crosby, Kevin Eberhart, Nick Holz, Tom Hubbard, Bryce MacMartin, Greg Pace, Stephone Robinson, Brendan Schaub, Dusty Sprague, John Torp, Vance Washington, Terrence Wheatley

Few would argue that Colorado earned the right to brag about its punting and kicking units last fall. Few could argue that any team fielded a better tandem of punter and placekicker than John Torp and Mason Crosby.

Both will use the spring to continue sharpening their skills. As it was, Torp averaged 46.34 yards per punt en route to being named first-team All-American by ESPN.com, second-team All-Big 12 by both the AP writers and Big 12 coaches.

Crosby hit 19-of-23 field goals, including five from 50-yards or more. He was 28 of 30 on point after touchdown attempts, and was a unanimous All-Big 12 first-team performer.

Crosby often praised his holder, Nick Holz, and the steady Holz will continue to work with Colorado's prize kicker this spring.

Punt returner Stephone Robinson overcame some early season jitters and turned in a solid fall, averaging 7.7 yards per return, and taking one for a touchdown, against Kansas. He'll also continue to work as kick returner, where he returned 15 last season.

However, Terrence Wheatley, the Buffs' leading kick returner from 2004 (16 for 223 yards), will miss the spring with a wrist injury.

Newcomer Alvin Barnett, a transfer from NE Oklahoma A&M, will likely get a look at kick return.

Longsnapper Greg Pace took all the field goal and punt snaps last fall after sharing the duties the year before. Pace, a former walk-on who will be a senior in the fall, earned a scholarship prior to last season. Juco-transfer Bryce MacMartin is an experienced longsnapper and could get a look there in April.

Hugh Charles and Dusty Sprague worked as gunners on the punt teams, but the likely return of speedy Vance Washington, who sat out last season with a shoulder problem, gives the Buffs another option there.

CU keeps special teams statistics, and players are awarded points for tackles, blocked kicks, recoveries and assorted other accomplishments. The top five special teams point scorers from last year's team return. They are Tom Hubbard (13 points), Brendan Schaub (12), Charles (9), Sprague (9) and Lawrence Vickers (9).

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