Training camp preview: Special Teams

With all of the attention focused on a fierce five-man quarterback battle and a series of wide open position battles, the special teams situation has done more than fly under the radar. For the first time since Jeremy Ito and Joe Radigan in 2006, the Scarlet Knights return both their steady kicker and punter for the upcoming season.

Those two steady returners come in the form of sophomore kicker San San Te and junior punter Teddy Dellaganna.

Te knocked in 12-of-17 field goal attempts and 45-of-48 extra points during his redshirt freshman season including a 50-yarder against Cincinnati. His season began ominously when he missed his first two career kicks against Fresno State. However, Te quickly reverted back to form reigning in his spot as heir apparent to Jeremy Ito.

Dellaganna, after a miserable freshman campaign left him sitting on the sidelines, as Ito handled kicking and punting duties in 2007, rebounded to become the kind of player that Rutgers needed — someone to dictate field position.

Dellaganna punted 55 times for an average of 41.2 yards, landing 18 inside the 20-yard line and a long of 61 yards. His most memorable game also came against Cincinnati where he met now-NFL punter Kevin Huber kick for kick.

He punted 10 times in the 13-10 loss for an average of 46.6 yards and that 61-yarder as Huber punted nine times for an average of 46.2 yards.

He also handled kickoff duties for the Scarlet Knights last season with an average of just over 57 yards per punt and four touchbacks on the year.

Another reason that not much has been said about the special teams unit in the recent months is that not much truly took place on special teams during spring practice.

Te barely participated in the spring, not kicking until the very end, after a back surgery in the offseason. Head coach Greg Schiano said that the surgery should help Te improve on kickoffs and he expects an open competition between Te and Dellaganna for that spot during summer training camp.

Although both RU's kicker and punter return, the Knights lost an integral special teams player in long snapper Jeremy Branch who graduated two weeks ago. Branch served as the team's long snapper last season until he was prematurely shut down with an injury.

Andrew DePaola stepped in to snap in Branch's absence and will continue to serve as the long snapper this season with Clem Udovich serving as the backup.

With Rob Cervini, who everyone remembers as the holder in the Bowl, transferring to Rhode Island, Dellaganna will fill in as the team's holder next season.

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