Spring Stock Report: Special Teams

Special teams had hot and cold moments for Rutgers in 2014, including the now-famous field goal block in a 26-24 win over Michigan. Scarlet Report looks deeper at special teams under its new coordinator and where things stand after spring camp.

Rutgers leads the nation in blocked kicks since coach Kyle Flood took over the program, but special teams is about more than Kemoko Turay. Rutgers historically puts extra emphasis on special teams in practice, and this spring was no different with a new coordinator on the field.

The Kicking Game -- Senior Kyle Federico is a career 68 percent kicker, and the spring was no different. Yes, Federico had one brutal scrimmage where he missed five field goals and an extra point. He was solid, overall, and owned up to his bad day with a legitimate technical explanation for his struggles. Federico will not boom field goals from deep range, but 2014 was his best season and he is now two years removed from an ugly hip injury.

Nick Borgese is gone, which leaves little competition for Federico until preferred walk-ons arrive.

Punting and Field Position -- Look for the same story as 2014, and that means split roles for Joe Roth and Tim Gleeson on fourth downs. Roth has the stronger leg, but it comes with a longer release time. The two-time transfer is the better option when Flood wants to flip the field.

Gleeson has a better touch and trapped opponents inside the 20-yard line 11 times last year. He will be the “coffin corner” expert yet again. Walk-on Michael Cintron from Metuchen (N.J.) St. Josephs’ showcased a strong but inconsistent leg. He could be a factor with Gleeson and Roth both set for graduation at the end of the season.

Impact Returns -- Janarion Grant maintained a stranglehold on this job without any live action during spring camp. Grant scored from 100 yards out on his first college touch and never looked back. With two more years as a return man, he could leave as the best in school history.

Rutgers worked on multiple guys in the return game during camp including Anthony Cioffi, Desmon Peoples, Josh Hicks, John Tsimis, Dre Boggs and Ruhann Peele. Look for Grant to be the premiere guy with the safest options as supplements.

The Little Things -- Holding was as much of a strength as long-snapping was a weakness for the 2014 edition of the Rutgers field goal unit. Mike Bimonte is gone as a stellar holder, and the young Alan Lucy returns after freshman struggles at his position.

Lucy showed some improvement but there is still room for plenty of fixes in his sophomore season. Rutgers worked others at long snapper, including defensive tackle Kevin Wilkins, but it is Lucy’s job to lose. At holder, Rutgers worked multiple punters as Bimonte’s replacement. There were no glaring concerns, but the former Manalapan (N.J.) star quarterback will be missed on field goals in 2015.

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