Spring Preview - Special Teams

Last year the Hurricanes strived in certain areas of special teams including a strong kicking game and boasting one of the top return teams in the country. The majority of the players that had large roles on special are back this year besides long snapper Chris Harvey who has graduated.

Coach: Don Soldinger (4th Year). Soldinger is back for his fourth year in charge of special teams and is the running backs coach as well. Coach Soldinger comes up with key formations in the return game to help the Hurricanes boast one of the top return units year in and year out.

Returning (11):
SR Matt Carter…….Holder
SR Antrel Rolle…….Punt Returner
JR Roscoe Parrish…..Punt Returner
JR Mark Gent ……….Kicker
SO Jon Peattie………Kicker
SO Brian Monroe……Punter
SO Curtis Justus……Long Snapper
SO Devin Hester……Kick Returner
SO Darnell Jenkins…Kick Returner
FR Greg Olsen………Long Snapper
FR John Rochford……Long Snapper

Lost (1):
Chris Harvey………Long Snapper

Spring Depth Chart (2003 Stats)

Kicker

1. Peattie……….22-28 FG…78.6%…37-37 X-PT
2. Gent………….0-0 FG….0 %….2-2 X-PT

Punter

1. Monroe………49 punts…35.7 avg
2. Peattie…………1 punt….28.0 avg

Kick Returner

1. Hester………18 returns…28.7 avg…1 TD
2. Jenkins……..10 returns…20.2 avg…0 TD

Punt Returner

1. Parrish……..23 returns…10.4 avg…1 TD
2. Rolle……….13 returns…15.6 avg…1 TD

Long Snapper

1. Justus
2. Rochford
3. Olsen

Kickoffs

1. Gent
2. Monroe
3. Peattie

Holder

1. Carter

Player to Watch: Brian Monroe

Peattie was a freshman All-American last year and set the school-record for most field goals in a season. He was bothered by a nagging leg injury all season long, but didn't let the injury affect him. Peattie has since strengthened his leg to get ready for another solid season. If his leg is completely healthy, look for him to win the kickoff duty job over Gent.

Monroe had a below-average season for a punter averaging just 35 yards per punt. The good news is that he is only a freshman and is continually getting better. The coaches are confident that he can become an elite punter and as long as Monroe stays confident, he should be just fine.

Gent was beat out for the kicking job last fall by Peattie and was relegated to kickoff duties, a job that he struggled with throughout the year before becoming more consistent late in the season. Peattie had a great season a year ago, but Gent will still push Peattie for the position because no job is considered safe.

Gone is four-year long snapper Chris Harvey and the Hurricanes will turn towards Greg Olsen, Curtis Justus, or John Rochford. Coach Coker prefers to use someone who is not a regular player because it can be a strenuous position at times. It is a position that is taken for granted, but it will be noticed if not done well.

The return game will be one of the greatest strengths of the Hurricanes this year with Hester, Jenkins, Rolle, and Parrish all getting their opportunities. Last year the Hurricanes returned three for touchdowns. One of the keys to the return game is the blockers. Most of the blockers a year ago were linebackers and safeties. It is important for these spots to be filled by guys that are willing to go hit someone to spring open holes for the returner.

Christopher Stock is a Staff Columnist for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@grassy.com.

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