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West Virginia Mountaineers Spring Practice Preview: Special Teams

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Our spring practice preview schedule:

Why is the special teams unit called special teams?  It should be called the kicking unit.  That is all they do.  Execute or cover kickoffs, punts, and field goals.  There is nothing special about that.  It's actually pretty basic football.

Now, if the special teams unit were armed with throwing stars and parachuted into the game to reenforce the defense or tunneled underground into the end zone, that would be special.  Otherwise, special teams is just a bunch of backups trying to appease Bill Stewart's fetish for kicking.

Despite the presence of Jim freaking Lewis, WVU's kickoff coverage sucked in 2008 and 2009.  It was ranked in the 100s.  There were only 66 BCS teams.  You think about that.

Against WVU, Mardy Gilyard looked like Michael Phelps competing against Special Olympians.  Our special teams went full retard those years.  Everyone knows you never go full retard.

However, to the credit of the toughness of New Martinsville, WVU was actually competent in kickoff coverage in 2010, which significantly helped my eyesight because I didn't have to jab myself in the eyes every time a writer wrote, "WVU's special teams aren't so special."

Unfortunately, the improvement in kickoff coverage coincided with Tyler Bitancurt slipping from 13-15 on FG's to 10-17.  That is not a good statistic.  There are a number of theories on what happened to his percentage: he was injured all year; his kicks were too low; he just missed.  I happen to think the pancake-ination of our offensive line was the culprit.

Either way, it's a new year, and the excitement of special teams in the spring has once again captivated the state.  And the eyes of the nation are upon the pride of Parkersburg's Michael Molinari as he tries to replace the legendary Jeremy Kash at placeholder and produce in the ever present shadow of George Shehl.  How he delicately balances the prolate spheroid on either pole gently with his index finger is the biggest question coming out of spring ball.

In the return game, give the ball to Tavon Austin and get out of the way.

Here is your Extra Strength Maximum Extreme 5,000 Triple X 2011 Special Teams Depth Chart (Keep out of the reach of small children.  Do read while use while operating heavy machinery.  If you experience an erection of longer than four hours, seek immediate psychiatric help):

PK:   Tyler Bitancurt

P:      Corey Smith

KO:   Corey Smith

LS:   Cody Nutter

KR:   The Poet

KR:   Bradley Starks

PR:   Brodrick Jenkins