If I was Coach Fickell [Special Teams Edition]

If Coach Fickell learned anything from Coach Tressel, it is that special teams is just as important as offense and defense and the the punt is the most important play in football. So today we will continue our series with the special teams players.

Kicker – This is a fairly easy call to make — Drew Basil is our kicker. (It should be noted that punter Ben Buchanan wants to be considered for place kicker.) Drew is a 6′ 1″ 212 pound true sophomore kicker from Chillicothe. Last year, as a freshman, he handled the long field goal attempts and kickoffs. He is looking to become the full time place kicker and field goal specialist this year. It is his job to lose.

PunterBen Buchanan became the full time punter last year and that won’t change. Ben is 6′ 0″ 180 pound redshirt junior from Westerville. Last year he had a 41.0 yards per punt punting average and he had 15 punts inside the 20 yard line. He wants to be a punter and place kicker and will try his best to beat Drew Basil in camp for the spot.

Kick Returner #1Jordan Hall is a 5′ 9″ 195 pound running back from Jeanette, PA. Jordan is a dangerous return guy. He was second in the B1G last year in punt return yard avg. He was 16th in the country in K/O return yard avg. He scored on a 85 yard K/O return against Michigan and had a 70 yard punt return against Minnesota. He has the speed and elusiveness to break one every time he touches the ball. He just needs to read his blocks a little better. I expect a big year from him this year as the punt returner and kick off returner.

Kick Returner #2Jaamal Berry is a 5’10” 200 pound running back redshirt sophomore from Florida. Last year as the “other” kick off return specialist he managed to be 40th in the nation in KO yard avg. He is more of a straight up the middle kind of runner but his speed is second to none. If he gets a lane he will bust one for sure. I expect him to be just as solid as last year if he doesn’t win the early starting running back job, look for him to make waves in the kick return game.

Punt Returner – I fully expect that if Jordan Hall isn’t the starting running back to start the season that he will most likely have this job as well. If, though, they need a guy to take over this spot I would start someone with speed and elusiveness. I suggest that player should be Devin Smith, a 6′ 3″ 190 pound freshman wide receiver from Massillon. His speed and shiftiness allow him to be the perfect punt return guy. Being a wide receiver, his hands should be golden and help OSU keep the ball for the offense. Word out of camp is he catches everything thrown his way and some he had shouldn’t have even been possible to catch. He has the hype so now it is time for him to prove his worth.

Long Snapper – In honor of el Kaiser and his storied history as a world class long snapper at The North Royalton High School [GO BEARS! -ed] I will add a long snapper to this post. After all, Ohio State did use a scholarship this year on a long snapper specialist. Bryce Haynes is a 6′ 4″ 185 pound true freshman long snapper from Georgia. He won lots of national awards for long snapper this off-season and expected to play right away at a position that is under-valued. If for some reason he doesn’t pan out, though, no worries — OSU has three long snappers on the roster. Not sure anyone else in the world can say that.

Last year Ohio State had some serious issues in special teams play and a lot of that, in my opinion, is due to the fact that OSU doesn’t have a special teams coach. I don’t understand how or why we don’t have one but we didn’t so the duties were shared by all the coaches on staff. I really felt like they needed to hire a good special teams coach as soon as possible. Ohio State has too much money not to have one, in my opinion. Thankfully Coach Fickell decided to give those duties to Coach Tressel — Dick Tressel that is. It would have been good to hire someone to handle these duties alone but Coach Tressel will handle it as well as his running backs coach duties this year. The other issue was inexperience and that OSU doesn’t use a lot of starters to help on coverage teams. I hope we see a lot of improvements in this area as everyone is more experienced and should handle the pressure better.


  1. It’s a shame other sites aren’t paying attention to the plight of the long snapper like you are, SYR. It’s an artform of the highest order, but, like the punter and kicker, is grossly undervalued and always taken for granted.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: