Where They Stand: Special Teams

Extra points, field goals, or returns, special teams creates scoring opportunities. Inside are those who can give the best opportunities at adding points.

Football is three phases.

Without special teams, points can be left off the board or be allowed to be put on the board by an opponent.

Here is a look at various special teams' positions with their most likely front-runners below:


Ross Krautman served as the starter last season and despite having some trouble with connecting on field goals early in the campaign, Krautman has made his positive mark on Syracuse history. His field-goal percentage is third-best for all Orange kickers at 78.7%. Krautman has made 48 field goals, putting him in Syracuse's top 5 all-time at #4.

Aiding the offense, Krautman's 43 made extra points for 2012-13 are a single-season record for the Orange.

Behind Krautman is Ryan Norton, who took over kickoffs last season and will most likely remain in that position.


After taking over the starting job outright last season, Jonathan Fisher had some good punts and others that provided good placement to opponents.

Coming back this season, Fisher seems to have better hangtime and ball placement as he continues to grow as the team's starter.

If Fisher keeps adding to his game, Riley Dixon will remain at #2.

Short snapper/Long snapper:

Sam Rodgers had the duties of playing both positions last season in all 12 home games as well as the New Era Pinstripe Bowl postseason match.

In two positions rarely spoken about, Rodgers has been an integral part of getting the ball to the right places and keeping it out of the hands of opponents. An unsung hero, his abilities should not be overlooked.

Return team:

Jeremiah Kobena not only has speed but also a quick start. When he catches the ball on returns, he does not need time to start up, with his first step seeming to be as if he was already in motion with the ball before the catch.

His vision and quick body movement help in traffic as well. He is an asset in special teams, and though utilized on kickoffs, he should also be an option on punt returns because of the shorter reaction time.

George Morris and DeVante McFarlane could also be options on kick returns. Being two backs in a group that includes at least six, getting on the field for reps is important. Running backs typically are given opportunities in this position and with the speed, ability to catch, and footwork to remain inbounds, neither should be held out of special teams.

On punt returns, Ritchy Desir took the place of Steven Rene after Rene was held out due to injury. Desir showed better hands and better decision-making, gaining instead of losing yards to set up the Orange offense.

Going into the upcoming season, outside of giving Kobena an opportunity to show his talents here, Desir should have this duty locked up.

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