New University of Missouri football coach Barry Odom will have some work to do with his special teams units this spring and in training camp leading up to the 2016 season.
Odom must replace Andrew Baggett, a four-year starter at kicker, and find a way to get better production in the return game — with both the punt return and kick return units struggling last season.
The Tigers are in good shape in one area of their special teams.
That would be punter Corey Fatony, who will be a sophomore next season, had a remarkable freshman season last fall. He averaged 42.9 yards per punt, booted 21 punts 50 yards or further and recorded 23 inside the opponents’ 20-yard line.
Long snapper Jake Hurrell will also be back in 2016 for his senior season.
The rest of the special teams units could see significant change, starting with the kicker spot.
Baggett made 16 of his 20 field goal attempts (80 percent) last season, though he made just one of four attempts from 40 yards out or longer.
Nick Coffman served as Baggett’s backup last season but did not attempt a field goal.
Missouri signed Baggett’s likely replacement, Tucker McCann, in Odom’s first recruiting class last month. McCann, who is already on campus, has a strong leg and was rated as one of the top kicking prospects in the Class of 2016.
Missouri returns several candidates for kickoff and punt returners but need to find better production out of those spots.
As a team, the Tigers averaged 15.1 yards on their 38 kickoff returns — their opponents averaged 26.5 yards per kickoff return — and 5.9 yards per punt return, compared to 7.4 for opponents.
Gibson returned 13 kicks last season and averaged 14.8 yards per. Stribling returned 10 kicks and averaged 16.4 yards per return. Sherrils averaged a team-best 17.8 yards per kick return with eight returns.
Penton returned a team-high 15 punts last season, averaged 7.7 yards per and recorded the Tigers’ lone punt return touchdown. Hilton returned six punts during his freshman season, averaging 3.5 yards per return.