The Cowboys opening date has been official on this site for sometime and we didn't wait on the Big 12 or ESPN to release it. The Orange Blitz or spring game (Gundy believes they will play some sort of game) is set for April 18. The team will work out three days a week, usually Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays, with the exception of the week of March 16-22, which is the school's spring break.
The ups and downs of Kip Smith as the Cowboys punter and kickoff specialist are over. Honestly, Kip was more up as he was a major part of the Cowboys being the best special teams squad in the Big 12.
Smith was not a boomer like Quinn Sharp but he was able to be successful with his hang time much of the time, and he also could punt better directionally. His accuracy over distance did help the coverage units. It was the same on kickoffs as he had a decent number of touchbacks this past season, but he was more of a directional and hang time kicker.
It would appear that scholarship punter Zach Sinor out of Medina Valley, Texas would be the heir apparent but he will need to be more consistent for special teams coordinator Robbie Discher. Sinor cane boom the ball but then come back with a shank. The offseason for Sinor will be spent getting stronger and working on that consistency.
As for the kickoff specialist, this could go to Ben Grogan when he comes back from his rehab following hip surgery. He should feel like a new man with a new leg and may feel strong enough to add on the responsibility of kicking off. Then again, a candidate for both the punting and the kickoff chore is Norman walk-on Matt Hockett, who is working away to try to win one of the two open positions.
2. Getting Grogan Rehabbed
It was no secret by midseason last year that Grogan had struggled early. A big part was because he was at less than full health. An old hip injury had come back and was bothering Grogan in the summer. He could have had it taken care of and have been ready for the start of the season but for whatever reason that didn't happen.
He's had the surgery now and he is well on his way to being ready for next season. Get ready as you may see an amazing difference in Grogan, who by the end of the 2014 season was recognized as one of the top kickers in the country.
3. Improve Operation
So much of special teams from the coverage and return standpoint will be laid out in fall camp as the freshmen are in to combine for duty on special teams along with the veteran players. However, in spring the deep snappers, in this case, Kaleb Smith and Josh Elias are there. With Smith gone a new holder will need to be developed and I don't think it will be Grogan. A new holder needs to be found and they need to work on point after and field goal operation throughout spring football. The season will bring some games that could come down to a field goal or point after.