UB FOOTBALL PREVIEW: SPECIAL TEAMS
(This is the eighth of eight position previews that will run this week. The full Buffalo News college football preview runs in Sunday's paper.)
Overview: Here's another area where the Bulls are young.
Projected starter: K Adam Mitcheson, P Kyle DeWeen/P Taylor Sheets, LS Corbin Grassman.
Strengths: Grassman is a first-rate long-snapper. Mitcheson was pretty good as a freshman place-kicker, even though he didn’t finish with a strong percentage (13 of 19). He has looked good in training camp.
Questions: The punting situation is up for grabs. With a week to go before the start of the season, it looks like DeWeen has the lead for the job. Lance Leipold has not made a call on who will start. DeWeen is a Niagara Falls product who played at Erie Community College. He’s only 187 pounds, but he has pretty good leg speed and extension. Sheets, a freshman from South Carolina, is on scholarship and is the long-term answer. He’s likely to handle kickoffs. How much do the Bulls want to put on his plate right away? On punt returns, UB lost Collin Lisa to transfer. He was sure handed but never had a return of 10 or more yards after his first return of the season. UB didn't do much on kickoff returns either, last year. Jamarl Eiland is the top punt returner. Marcus McGill, Emmanuel Reed, Johnathan Hawkins and Eiland are the kick return candidates.
2015 Stats: Graduated punter Tyler Grassman finished his career second in UB history in punts and punting yards and third in gross average.
Analytics: Two of Mitcheson’s misses were blocked, another was from 47 yards in the rain. Another was from 41 yards in which he put a good strike on the ball.
Looking ahead: Leipold very likely is going to have to recruit a long-snapper who’s worth receiving a scholarship for next year.
End of series.