GAMEDAY: UT vs. UF Special Teams Break-down

Special teams always play a role in big games. It might be something as simple as a missed block on a return that springs the runner for excellent field position or as stunning as a penalty called on a player who throws a punch in retaliation.


Taxes, death, and a Colquitt playing for the Vols. Since 1975, the Southeastern Conference has had to endure three members of the Colquitt family launching kicks through southern skies. The latest is freshman Dustin Colquitt, who had one punt in the season opener for 38 yards. The University of Tennessee should just set a scholarship, locker, and jersey with the name Colquitt permanently stitched on the back.

Junior placekicker James Wilhoit hit one of two field goals two weeks ago against UAB. He hit a 46 yarder on the opening possession of the first quarter and missed a 47 yard field goal in the second quarter. 10 of 17 field goals in 2003.

Colquitt handled the first two kickoffs for the Vols. His first kickoff landed at the two yard line, while his second went to the fifteen. Wilhoit put the Vols other two kickoffs into the end zone. I would expect Wilhoit to handle those duties Saturday night.

Alabama-Birmingham kickoff return men averaged 20.5 yards per return two weeks ago. Colquitt’s punt was a fair catch.

Robert Meachem returned one kickoff for fifteen yards. Inquoris Johnson had a pair of returns with both going for 17 yards.


Chris Hetland didn’t get an opportunity to kick a field goal last week. He missed a PAT, which drew the ire of Coach Meyer. Hetland has driven field goals of 40 and 47 yards in the season opener against Wyoming, which earned him Southeastern Conference Special Teams Player of the Week.

Punter Eric Wilbur is averaging 43.2 yards on ten kicks this season. He has a long of 55 yards. He made a sensational play on a ball that got away last Saturday night. He kicked the ball despite a bevy of Bulldogs breathing down his neck for some 31 yards.

Vernell Brown has to do a better job in punt returns. He is a veteran, who has fumbled the ball once already and made a poor decision to flag down a ball that a Louisiana Tech player was about to cover. He has to make something happen or at the very least, take care of the ball against a fast Tennessee team.

Andre Caldwell is the only Florida player who has touched the ball on kickoff returns. Caldwell is averaging 34.3 yards per attempt.


#47 Britton Colquitt (P) 6-3 198 Fr. Sq Knoxville, Tn.

#25 James Wilhoit (PK) 5-10 198 Jr. 2L Hendersonville, Tn.

#59 Adam Miles (LS) 6-0 233 Sr. 3L Hendersonville, Tn.

#33 Jonathan Hefney (PR) 5-9 174 So. 1L Rock Hill, SC

#3 Robert Meachem (KR) 6-3 218 So. 1L Tulsa, Ok.

#29 Inquoris Johnson (KR) 5-9 167 So. 1L Atlanta, Ga.


#10 Eric Wilber (P) 6-1 195 Jr. 2L Winter Park

#39 Chris Hetland (PK) 6-0 185 Jr. Sq Leesburg

#43 James Smith (LS) 6-1 225 Fr. Sq Gainesville

#16 Vernell Brown (PR) 5-8 165 Sr. 2L Gainesville

#5 Andre Caldwell (KR) 6-1 200 Jr. 2L Tampa

#18 Tremaine McCollum (KR) 5-8 178 Jr. 1L Miami

Analysis: The Vols haven’t had much of an opportunity to work on punts with just one to date. Despite the Colquitt name, having a freshman making his second kick in the Florida game can’t sit well with the UT staff. The Gators counter with a capable punter in Eric Wilbur. Edge Florida.

The Vols have the edge place kicking with Wilhoit. He has not been the most consistent though. He has hit only 11 of 18 (61%) the past fourteen games. Hetland has hit two for the Gators, but he and his holder must get comfortable before a missed PAT is costly. Edge Tennessee.

Caldwell is easily the best return man in this game…


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