David Davis came on last year with little fanfare and providede the kind of consistency that had been lacking from the Trojan kicking game in recent years. He had minor surgery on his plant foot after the season and now that he is healthy Davis could end up being the top kicker in the conference this year. Ryan Kileen will handle kickoffs and he is reported to have a booming leg which more often than not puts the ball in the end zone. That will be good news for Trojan fans who grew tired of the pooch kicks last year. Tom Malone will serve as the holder on all kicks.
When was the last time any college football program was this excited about the arrival of a freshman punter? Tom Malone gave us a glimpse of the future during spring ball with his long, high punts and he should prove to be quite a weapon in the battle for field position.
Frank Candela was given a scholarship in large part due to his abilities as a return man and it would be ideal to have him secure this spot. Kevin Arbet, Kareem Kelly, Greig Carlson and Justin Wyatt are others who could get a look.
A slew of options from Darrell Rideaux to Malaefou MacKenzie to Marcell Allmond to Jason Mitchell.
Joe Boskovich will handle placekicks while Matt Hayward takes over on punts.
Last season saw a marked improvement for the special teams after Kennedy Pola was installed as the full-time coach in charge of the group. This season Pola moves to take over the RB's as well and he will be assisted on special teams by Brennan Carroll. If we can see the type of change in the punt game that we saw in the kicking game last year then all will be fine.
Pete Carroll did some juggling in the off-season after losing some experienced assistant coaches but our needs were filled in such a way that the staff might actually have improved. Losing a coach like DeWayne Walker hurts and both Kirby Wilson and Wayne Moses brought a lot of knowledge as well but the Trojans were able to return Kennedy Pola to his rightful spot at running backs coach and add a veteran offensive line coach like Tim Davis to insure an upgrade in those two important spots. Of equal importance was the hiring of Steve Sarkisian to a full-time position of QB coach to give Carson Palmer some stability and that extra voice of understanding with the Norm Chow system. We trust that Greg Burns is a competent DB coach but to be honest we already have a secondary coach in Pete Carroll so there aren't too many worries in that area. We discusses Carroll and Chow in their roles as coordinators in offensive and defensive previews but for Carroll as a head coach this will prove to be a very telling season. There are a lot of indications that this is a program headed in the right direction and most who are looking from the outside in would agree that Carroll is making progress in a lot of areas. Now is the time to turn up the results on the field, however, because no matter how good the feeling is right now the only way to insure those positive vibes is to get it done on the field in the fall.