Post Spring Breakdown: Special Teams Part I

Previously, Sooners Illustrated provided the offensive and defensive breakdowns at various positions, so now it's time to look at the special teams outlook after the spring, starting with the kickers and punter, as well as the holder and long snapper.

Starting place kicker—Patrick O'Hara—He took over the responsibilities midway through last year when starter Jimmy Stevens lost his job because of inconsistency. And he showed signs of being pretty good at times, converting all 15 of his extra points and six of his nine field goals, including a long of 47 yards at Texas Tech. However, he missed a couple field goals in the Spring Game. One attempt was blocked, although the rules traditionally don't allow the field goal defense to set up for blocks, so O'Hara got another chance and missed badly. Coming out of spring, though, he is the starter listed on the depth chart.

Backup place kicker—Stevens—As mentioned, he started the first six games for OU last season, hitting 11 of his 13 field goal attempts. He had a long of 39 yards at Miami, but he missed a pair of extra points over his 29 attempts. With that said, he was a perfect 3-for-3 in the Red-White game, booting through field goals from 27, 31 and 39 yards. So, he hopes to become more consistent and ultimately earn his starting spot back.

Starting punter—Tress WayThere are no problems here, as the 6-foot-1, 215 lb. sophomore was solid a year ago on his way to averaging 45.7 yards per punt. He blasted a 74-yarder against Oklahoma State, part of a Sooner record 58.8 yards per attempt in that contest in which he racked up five punts of 50-plus yards. Way, then, is a great option in the Sooners' special team arsenal here.

Starting holder—John Nimmo—He has been working more on his role here, and all signs point to Nimmo being a valid option as the holder in the Sooner kicking game, so that's a positive.

Starting long snapper—James Winchester—The combination of Winchester to Way worked in the punting game a year ago, so there's no reason at all to think that it won't again this time around.

Stay tuned for the final part of the special teams breakdown, which includes the kick returners and punt returners, as well as the overall status ranking for the entire group.

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