Position Preview: Special Teams

The special teams can sometimes be not so special. Just ask Florida State, a victim on five occasions since 1991 to a debacle on special teams that cost them a game against Miami and potentially a national championship.

Wide Right I gave Miami a 17-16 win in Tallahassee. Wide Right II gave Miami a 19-16 win in the Orange Bowl in 1992. Wide Right III gave Miami a 27-24 win in 2000 in the Orange Bowl. Wide Left I gave Miami a 16-14 win in the Fed Ex Orange Bowl Game at Pro Player Stadium in 2004 and just nine months later, a blocked kick by Devin Hester with less than five minutes to play gave Miami a chance to tie the game in the waning seconds as it did last season in Miami's 16-10 come-from-behind overtime win in the Orange Bowl.

And guess where the ‘Canes are traveling this weekend as they face the ‘Noles Labor Day night Monday in Tallahassee at Doak Campbell Stadium.

However, for Miami, over the years the special teams have been quite special and this year will be no different for the ‘Canes that return Hester a sickeningly frightening player for opponents as they now as constantly left with the choice of whether they should kickoff and punt to him or not.

Kick away from him and the ‘Canes have the ball at the 40-yard line to start a possession following a kickoff.

Kick it to him and it could very well go the distance for a score.

The same can be said for punts. Kick away for him and it's quite possible that a punter will shank the punt and give the ‘Canes great field position.

Kick it to him and ask Louisville the result of that.

So Miami is in good shape with Hester as its return man as he is a weapon that simply no team in the nation has. And that's even with the loss of Roscoe Parrish who was taken in the second round of the NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills and was an evil figure to those kickers who had to pun the ball to him last season.

The ‘Canes also have a penchant for blocking kicks as they've done plenty of that over the years as they had three blocked kicks last season including Hester's blocked field goal against Florida State.

Safety Anthony Reddick showed the ability to break through the line on punts as he blocked two last year.

On the kicking front, the ‘Canes are as secure at the place kicker and punter positions as they've been in years.

Jon Peattie returns for his junior season two successful years at UM.

His freshman year was phenomenal and although he slumped a bit his sophomore year, call it a sophomore slump, there is no doubt Peattie will be back to sure up the ‘Canes field goal kicking.

Even slumping, he was 15-for-24 kicking field goals, better than most collegiate kickers and was a guarantee in extra points going 45-for-45. Peattie is 85-for-85 in extra points during his career.

He helped continue a streak that has seen UM place kickers convert 112 consecutive extra point attempts, second best in the nation behind Mississippi with 119.

As for punting, Brian Monroe definitely sured up his spot as the ‘Canes punter.

After a disappointing freshman year that saw fans screaming for a new punter because of numerous punts that Monroe shanked, there were times last season when it could be said that Monroe was the team's MVP as his punting saved the ‘Canes in some games, especially early on in the season when the team was having a terrible time scoring points, namely the Florida State game.

His punting average went up from 35.7 to 41.2. His long was 67 yards last year and planted 20 kicks inside the opponent's 20-yard line.

Returning for his junior year, one can only expect Monroe to continue to get better.

And while the special teams continues to be special, that can only mean good things on the scoreboard when the ball games are final.

And it will start in Tallahassee against Florida State Monday night.

Rudy Rodriguez-Chomat is a Staff Writer for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at rudy@canestime.com

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