The good, the bad, the question: ST

ON PAPER, it's potentially a bellwether year on special teams at Oregon State. Now it's a matter of going out and getting it done. The reasons for optimism? OSU's kicker and punter return this spring, and there will be some competition as well. The majority of the coverage units are back -- including three of the top five special teams tacklers. And Bruce Read returns to the OSU coaching fold.

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Although Johnny Hekker finished eighth in the Pac-10 in punt average (39.7) he showed significant, steady improvement in the latter half of the year, capping his first season in orange and black with the special team's MVP trophy in the Sun Bowl.

Snapper Marcus Perry and holder Taylor Kavanaugh are back while kicker Justin Kahut should be fully healed from his hip injury that marked his first year as a starter.

The majority of the coverage teams are back with three (Hardin, Kjos, Mitchell) of the top five special teams tacklers returning.

The return of special teams coach Bruce Read is also a plus.


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Kahut's lack of accuracy and consistency.

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Will Kahut find his groove, or will the kicker position be an adventure again? Is Kahut now fully healed from his hip injury?

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Justin Kahut. He needs to have a strong spring to show that the past season was more fluke than it was prologue.

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A big reason why Kahut was inconsistent was the hip injury he suffered, one he never fully recovered from.  The mental part of the game, when doubt inevitably creeps in after a sub-par performance, will be one of Read's top priorities. 

Now that Hekker has the distance down, Read will work with the sophomore on his aim; a deadly tool that Sam Paulescu had down during his time in Corvallis.  It may not be noticed by all fans all the time, but an accurate punter does wonders in the battle for field position.

Perry wasn't great in his first year as the team's snapper but, just like Hekker, he steadily improved, quickly getting the ball to Hekker or Kavanaugh and he's getting more and more locked in.

Kavanaugh has been fantastic in his two plus seasons as a holder and has saved many a bounced snap.


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"(Hekker) is a good worker and a good athlete...he struggled through a lot of rough spots there in the beginning of the year...I think he's got the potential to be on of the better ones. He started to show people what he was capable of towards the end of the year....I also think we have a really good competitor for him in Ryan Allen, who redshirted last year."
 
"We're still working on the possibility of another kicker (in the fall) and Matt Barker I think has a lot of potential there..he's got a good leg and had a great high school career."

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  • P Johnny Hekker (6-5, 211) - averaged 39.7 yards per punt...long of 59...23 landed inside the 20...sometimes takes too long to get the ball off...inconsistent at the start of the year...consistent at the end of the year
     
  • P/K Sean Sehnem (5-11, 190) - served as the backup kicker...made 1 of 2 field goals, a 32 yarder, with his miss being blocked...also kicked three kickoffs for a 56.7 average...made 6 of 7 extra points
     
  • K Justin Kahut (5-8, 158) - finished the year 16 of 23 (69.5%)...long of 47...five misses from 40 plus yards out...two misses from 29 yards in...struggled with a hip injury...missed two extra points (36-38)
     
  • K Ryan Allen (6-1, 195) - redshirted last year
     
  • K Matt Barker (6-1, 170) - kicked off 11 times averaging 58.4 yards per boot with two touchbacks...made both extra point attempts
     
  • SN Marcus Perry (5-11, 236) - one of two true freshman to play...struggled at times bouncing the pigskin off of the turf...got better game by game...gets the ball quickly to the holder and punter

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