Hokie Football Outlook, Part VIII
Special Teams
August 3, 2007

Outlook Schedule on hokiesports.comGeneral Outlook: Tuesday, July 17
Offensive Line: Thursday, July 19
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: Monday, July 23
Wednesday, July 25
Defensive Line: Friday, July 27
Linebackers: Monday, July 30
Secondary: Wednesday, August 1
Specialists: Friday, August 3

  • Key losses: Kicker Brandon Pace, punter/holder Nic Schmitt and long snapper Nick Leeson

  • Key returnee: Punt/kick returner Eddie Royal - He has been the primary returner for three years now, and made the All-ACC second team as a specialist in 2006. He is just 31 yards shy of becoming Tech's all-time leader in punt return yards, and just 388 yards shy in the kick return department.

  • Battle to watch: Place-kicker - Jud Dunlevy and Jared Develli will compete for Pace's old duties. Dunlevy has an edge after serving as the jayvee kicker for three seasons and getting a lot of work in the spring, but Develli has honed his leg as the kickoff guy on the big stage.

  • Spring standout: Brent Bowden had a great spring not only punting the ball, but also fielding erratic snaps and getting rid of the ball in a quick fashion.

Special TeamsReturners
97Brent Bowdenr-So.P
98Jared DevelliSr.PK
92Jud Dunlevyr-Sr.PK
Jacob Gardnerr-Fr.DS
Dustin Keysr-So.PK
61Scott KingSr.DS
54Bart McMillinr-Sr.DS
Brian Saundersr-Fr.P/QB
Matt Waldronr-Fr.PK

Collin CarrollFr.DS/C

The Players
JUD DUNLEVY (R-Sr.) - Leads the charge for the FG/PAT duties following spring practice, and the only thing he lacks is game experience and the confidence that comes from it ... Has kicked on the jayvee team for three seasons and nailed a 51-yard, game-winning, last-second field goal against Hargrave in 2005 ... He has also kicked off sparingly for the varsity.

JARED DEVELLI (Sr.) - Didn't kick much during the spring as he dealt with lingering effects of hernia surgery ... Has been the primary kickoff guy for the Hokies for the last three seasons, and was 0-for-1 on FG attempts in 2006.

DUSTIN KEYS (R-So.) and MATT WALDRON (R-So.) - A pair of walk-ons who showed ability and will continue to compete.

BRENT BOWDEN (R-So.) - Has been the No. 2 punter for the past two years, but has yet to see game action ... Enters the fall as the starter after having a great all-around spring ... Has exceptional talent and could be very good once he gets into the groove of the game.

BRIAN SAUNDERS (r-Fr.) - A walk-on who also works as a scout team quarterback ... Was better in the spring than he was in the fall ... Impressed Coach Beamer, who looks forward to seeing what he does this fall.

SCOTT KING (Sr.) - Handled all short snapping duties last season, and will continue to do so ... Coaches have been really pleased with his work habits ... May figure into the long snapping competition as well.

BART McMILLIN (R-Sr.) - Is a bit erratic at times, but should take over for Nick Leeson as the long snapper ... Has dressed for every game for two years, but has yet to see game action.

JACOB GARDNER (R-Fr.) - Will work as a long snapper after practicing as a defensive lineman last year ... His brother snaps at Virginia ... Must work at his protection following the snap.

Grant Throckmorton (R-Sr.) - Has worked at quarterback in the past, but missed 2006 with a broken ankle ... Has a confident way about him, and has served as a backup holder in the past.

BRENT BOWDEN (R-So.) - A logical option since Schmitt was the punter/holder ... Has held for Dunlevy and Develli in practice games ... Is used to catching snaps for his punting duties.

JUD DUNLEVY (R-Sr.) and JARED DEVELLI (Sr.) - Have competed for the job in the past, and will continue to do so ... Develli has the edge, having handled most of the kickoffs for three years, but was limited in the spring after having hernia surgery in December and missing the bowl game.

EDDIE ROYAL (Sr.), Josh Morgan (Sr.) and VICTOR "MACHO" HARRIS (Jr.) - All three could share duties in the fall ... Royal has led the team in kickoff and punt return yardage for three straight seasons, but Morgan had a career-high in kickoff return yardage last year, and Harris began working as a return man in practice last year.

Coach Beamer on the Special Teams
"I think we've got a strong group of kickers. The shortened spring probably hurt us more in the kicking game than anywhere else, because we like to build up our kicking slowly during the spring until it all culminates with the spring game. That's when it would've been a pressure-filled situation, because we'd be performing in front of other people as opposed to just ourselves during practice. We've got good snappers and kickers, but the only thing we lack is the experience of getting it done in front of people when it counts. However, I'm very confident that we'll be OK because our guys have kicked in practice a lot."