Hokie Football Outlook, Part VIII
Special Teams
July 29, 2005

Outlook Schedule on hokiesports.com:
General OutlookWednesday, July 13
Offensive LineFriday, July 15
Wide Receivers/Tight EndsMonday, July 18
Tailbacks/Fullbacks/QuarterbacksWednesday, July 20
Defensive LineFriday, July 22
LinebackersMonday, July 25
SecondaryWednesday, July 27
SpecialistsFriday, July 29
Headlines
  • Tech place-kicker Brandon Pace finished second in the ACC in scoring and was first among kickers with an average of 8.2 points per game. He also ranked tops in the league in field goals and 10th nationally.

  • With four-year starters Vinnie Burns and Travis Conway gone, the Hokies will have a totally new look in the punting game this season. Burns set Tech career records for punts and punting yardage, while Conway's work as a snapper earned him a shot at the NFL.

  • The Hokies ranked 15th nationally in kickoff returns last season.

RETURNERS
No.NameCl.Pos.
98Jared DevelliSo.PK
Jud Dunlevyr-So.PK
53Nick Leesonr-Jr.DS
54Bart McMillinr-So.DS
46Brandon Pacer-Jr.PK
23Nic Schmittr-Jr.P
NEWCOMERS
No.NameCl.Pos.
Brent BowdenFr.P
The Players
Place-kickers
BRANDON PACE - Took over the place-kicking duties for the Hokies last season and led the team in scoring with 106 points, one shy of the school season mark for points kicking ... Was 21-for-27 on field goals and made 43 of his 44 extra-point attempts on the way to first-team All-ACC honors ... Was named Tech's most valuable specialist following spring practice.

JARED DEVELLI - Won the kickoff duties last season as a true freshman and will be the leading candidate for the job this fall ... Had 29 touchbacks on 69 kickoffs last season.

JUD DUNLEVY - Was a back up for placements and kickoffs last season ... Kicked off seven times ... Will compete for both jobs again this fall.

Punters
NIC SCHMITT - A talented kicker who concentrated mainly on punting during the spring and was named the team's most improved specialist ... Showed consistency in his kicking motion ... Averaged 42 yards on seven punts during the spring game.

Snappers
NICK LEESON - Is the front-runner to handle the long snapping duties for the upcoming season ... Handled most of the snapping for field goals and PATs in 2003, but did not see action last year ... Has worked his way to Super Iron Hokie status in the weight room.

BART McMILLIN - Worked as a long-snapper during the spring and is expected to challenge for the starting duties this fall.

Tripp Carroll - Missed spring practice, but is still the top candidate to snap for field goals and PATs after doing a good job with those duties last season.

Returns
Eddie Royal - An exceptional talent who led the team in both punt and kickoff returns last season ... Was also Tech's leader in pass receptions and all-purpose yards ... Averaged 11 yards per return on 25 punts and 28.8 yards on 12 kickoff returns ... Will be one of the top candidates for both duties again this fall.

Mike Imoh - Joined Royal on kickoff returns and was the No. 2 man for punt returns last season ... Was third nationally in kickoff returns in 2003 ... Will likely be one of a host of candidates for the two-deep duties on kickoffs.

Coach Beamer on Special Teams
"I think Brandon Pace was good in the spring and with his work habits, I wouldn't expect anything but a great year from him on field goals.

"Our punting operation is going to be totally new, and that's such a critical part of the game that having two new guys in there is worrisome. But, I'll say this, I think that the talent of both the snappers and the punters is very good, so it also gives us hope that we could be even better."
Beamer on His Newcomers
"I think several of our incoming recruits are going to figure into this year's football team and one of those could be Brent Bowden. He is going to get a chance to compete for the punting duties."