Countdown to Kickoff: Special Teams

Special teams have excelled at Rutgers since the arrival of coach Greg Schiano, but there have been changes to the unit this season after the departure of do-everything special teamer Devin McCourty. In the final piece of the "Countdown to Kickoff" series, takes a look at the special teams.

Strong special teams played a significant role in coach Greg Schiano building Rutgers into a power, so it stands to reason the Scarlet Knights will find a way to replace do-everything special teamer Devin McCourty.

But how Rutgers does it will begin to unfold tonight as the Scarlet Knights host Norfolk State in the season opener for both programs.

In the final piece of's "Countdown to Kickoff" series profiling each of the units, the special teams are examined.

Relevant players: PK San San Te (R-Jr.), P Teddy Dellaganna (R-Sr.), PR-KR Mason Robinson (R-Jr.), PR Mohamed Sanu (So.), KR Joe Lefeged (Sr.), H Kyle Sullivan (R-Fr.), LS Robert Jones (R-Fr.)

The Good: McCourty received plenty of press for his special teams exploits, and rightfully so, but Lefeged is no slacker. He returned a kickoff 91 yards for a score last season and also blocked a field goal and a punt, and this year Schiano talked about Lefeged's exploit as a gunner in punt coverage.
The punt return duties fall to Robinson, who earned Schiano's trust during a strong training camp. Robinson will also return kicks, and with the speed and acceleration he showed in camp, could be an asset there.
From inside 40 yards, the Scarlet Knights have an almost-guaranteed three points when it comes to Te. He is 26 of 31 from that range in his career.
Consistency is key for Dellaganna, who also handles kickoffs. He averaged 42.2 yardsa on 68 punts and had more than one-third of them downed inside the 20-yard line.

The Bad: For as accurate as Te is inside 40 yards, the opposite is true once he gets to the 40-yard mark. He is 4 of 14 from 40-plus yards, and on an offense with questions, points could be a premium against the better teams.

The Unknown: How many guys will it take to cover McCourty's jobs, and can they be nearly as effective? Does Robinson possess the ability to break big plays in the punt return game? What will the long-snapping look like? The Scarlet Knights had trouble in the spring, but seemed to remedy that in camp, but this is new for Jones.

Confidence meter: Scale of 1 to 10: 7

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