GAMEDAY: Arkansas Special Teams Preview

Former St. Thomas Aquinas placekicker Chris Balseiro has had limited field goal opportunities for in 2004. The junior has hit 2 of 3 attempts and nailed 21 of his 22 PAT chances. Balseiro missed his first attempt of the season from 47 yards out versus New Mexico State in the season opener. He has since hit field goals of 27 and 35 yards. However, both of those took place against Texas, the Razorbacks second game of the year. He has not had an attempt the past two games, and none on the road.

This won't be his first game in "The Swamp" though. Balseiro was a member of the 1999 and 2000 Ft. Lauderdale Aquinas teams that split in their state title efforts. They beat Pensacola Escambia 38-35 in '99, but were beaten by Pensacola Pine Forest 34-27 in overtime the following year.

Balseiro took over the starting job last season in the Hogs fourth game. He hit 11 of 15 on the year. He missed a 50 yard attempt last season against the Gators. The Razorbacks have the longest consecutive streak of unblocked field goal attempts in the SEC at 52.

Senior David Carlton handles the Arkansas' kickoffs. Last season Carlton kicked off 50 times, of which 10 were touchbacks. Thus far, Carlton has six touchbacks in just 25 attempts. Obviously he has worked to improve his game.

Punter Jacob Skinner had a terrific game against the Gators in Fayetteville. In a game that featured a pair of true freshmen handling the punting duties, Skinner nailed seven punts for a 46.6 average. The Texarkana, Texas native pinned Florida inside their own 20 yard line three times, while launching three more 50+ yards. One of those was a career long 58 yarder. He hasn't been as sharp this season though. Skinner has punched 19 punts for a 35.9 average. Five of those have been inside the 20.

Fullback Peyton Hillis (6'2 240) has more kickoff returns than anybody for the Razorbacks this season. The true freshman has four returns for 82 yards, a 20.5 average. His long return is 30 yards. Flanker Cedric Washington has three returns to his credit. Washington has amassed 66 yards.

Tailback DeCori Birmingham handles the punt return duties. He has eight returns for 48 yards, and a long return of 16 yards. Birmingham ripped off a 28 yard punt return against Florida last year.


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