CN Spring Cleaning: Special Teams

The eleventh and final story in a series of football position progress reports on features the special teams, where Tony Yelk will try to handle all of the kicking and punting duties this fall.

Pre-Fall Depth Chart:

PK Tony Yelk, 6-1, 200, R-SR
Scott Krava, 6-2, 180, FR
Josh Griebahn, 5-8, 195, R-FR

P Tony Yelk, 6-1, 200, R-SR
Troy Blankenship, 6-1, 190, R-JR

DS Landon Schrage, 6-5, 210, R-JR
Brian Lutter, 6-0, 270, R-SR

PR Todd Miller, 5-8, 175, R-SR

KR Todd Miller, 5-8, 175, R-SR

HO Austin Flynn, 6-1, 185, R-SO

Spring evaluation:

The story of the spring became Yelk's emergence. Coaches always knew he had a strong leg as a kickoff man and was an excellent punter, but the fifth-year senior added the title of full-time field goal kicker to that list. Yelk showed more consistency than he ever has in practice.

The challenge will be for him to put it all together this fall. Some skeptics may wonder if Yelk could slip in his punting duties as a result of doing both, but Carl Gomez proved to be more than adequate handling all of the responsibilities in 2000.

Given the closed practice schedule throughout much of practices, and Dan McCarney's elimination of returns during the spring, we didn't get much of a look at the Cyclones' work in coverage and returns. Miller remains the best option at kick and punt returns, but true freshman running back Jason Scales got an extended look this spring.

The Cyclones needed to address the loss of Eric Schmitz at deep snapper, and they apparently have found their man in Schrage, who has had some prior experience in the role. Flynn will go into this fall as the holder after Casey Baldwin occupied the job during the past four seasons.

Fall outlook:

McCarney named assistants Terry Allen and DeMontie Cross as co-special teams coordinators. The onus will be on those two to revive a unit that has been lacking in several areas over the past few seasons. Allen and Cross should have more players at their disposal this fall, with several redshirt freshmen entering the mix. Assuming he doesn't redshirt, running back Webster Patrick might also figure in as a return man.

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