OU report card: Special teams

Sooners Illustrated continues its grading of position groups at OU. This time around it's the special teams.

With the Oklahoma football season in the books, Sooners Illustrated is going to look back at each position group to see how they fared in 2013.

Special teams

Heading into the season, the question was how would the unit gel with first-year coach Jay Boulware. The only real issue was at punter as OU had a solid special teams group on paper. On paper and on the field in 2013 as despite some bumps in the road, the unit got stronger and stronger as the year progressed. Kicker Michael Hunnicutt became so good, so automatic that he earned the moniker "Moneycutt" from OU fans. Punter Jed Barnett stepped in and did a fine job, while Nick Hodgson became a kickoff specialist with touchbacks. Add in the return game of Roy Finch on kickoffs, the dynamic ability of Jalen Saunders on punt returns and the coverage units sparked by Trey Franks, Derrick Woods and Stanvon Taylor, and that is one heck of a group. Hunniuctt, Hodgson and Barnett all return but finding somebody to be that guy for Saunders isn't going to be easy. There are plenty of choices, but few can duplicate the vision, patience and skill Saunders had back there as a returner.

Best moment: No doubt about it, going to Bedlam at Oklahoma State. Two of Barnett's punts were downed at the 1 by Franks. Hunnicutt was good on his field goals. Saunders returned a punt for a touchdown. And oh yea, there just also happened to be a receiving touchdown by Hunnicutt on a fake field goal on a pass by holder Grant Bothun. Not a bad day.

Worst moment: OU earned the win against Texas Tech, but it was a horrible day for Boulware's bunch. Hunnicutt had a field goal blocked. The return game did nothing throughout, and Texas Tech recovered an onside kick. Coming off shaky outings against Texas and Kansas, this was the low point of the season for the unit.

Sooners Illustrated grade: B.

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