2003 Outlook: Special Teams

Special teams are an overlooked aspect in a team's success. Whether it's hitting the long field goal to give a team three points or making a great tackle on a kickoff, they both influence the shape of the game. The Miami Hurricanes have enjoyed the luxury of having two great kicking specialists in placekicker Todd Sievers and punter Freddie Capshaw, however both graduated and newcomers must step in.

Mark Gent is a sophomore from Fort Lauderdale and looks to take over the placekicking duties this season. Gent hit 22 of 26 field goals during his senior season with a long of 49 yards and hit clutch field goals in the big games. He also hit a 52-yard field goal during the spring game. Gent should be the starting kicker for the opener against Louisiana Tech.

Jon Peattie is a redshirt freshman from Clearwater who has the skills to be a quality punter and kicker. In high school, Peattie connected on 12 of 15 field goals with a long of 57 yards. As a punter, he averaged 36 yards per punt with his longest being 65 yards. Peattie had a good spring game connecting on both of his field goal attempts with his longest of 49 yards. Peattie will be a solid backup for Gent at placekicker and will compete for the punting job this fall.

Incoming freshman Brian Monroe will compete with Jon Peattie for the starting punter position. Monroe has a strong leg and is a good athlete. In high school he averaged over 44 yards per punt. He will likely win the punting battle and should enjoy a great career at Miami.

Chris Harvey is a senior from West Virginia who returns as the team's long snapper. Harvey has specialized in the long snapping duties all four years at Miami. His excellent skills are utilized on punts, field goals and conversion kicks.

Wide receiver Jason Geathers is back for his senior season and should be back returning kicks again this season. Geathers returned 24 kicks with an average of 21.7 yards per return. His speed and ability to see the hole on kickoffs makes him a threat for a big gain every time he returns a kick.

Running back Jarrett Payton also returned kicks last year. He returned seven kicks for an average of 20.7 yards per return. Payton is also a solid blocker on returns and is likely to be utilized there as well.

Incoming freshman Devin Hester should see some time returning kicks. Hester has great speed and agility. In high school he had the ability to score every time he touched the ball. He returned five kicks for touchdowns during his senior season. Hester should be an exciting player at the college level.

Roscoe Parrish is back as an explosive punt returner. He was among the nation's best punt returnmen with an average of 14.5 yards per return. Parrish had three long returns in the season's closing weeks including a 48-yard return against Pittsburgh, a 43-yarder against Virginia Tech and a key 50-yard return against Ohio State.

There will be a close eye on the new kicking specialists at Miami. Gent and Monroe figure to be the two guys to replace Sievers and Capshaw. Getting good return yards out of Geathers, Payton, Hester or whoever else steps in is important. Parrish should provide good field position with his ability for a long gain on each punt return. The blockers and downfield tacklers should not be overlooked. While having a good offense and a good defense are important for a team to succeed, special teams can be just as important.

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