August 3, 2008
    Hokie Football Outlook, Part VII
    Special Teams
    SpecialistReturnees
    No. Name Cl. Pos.
    97 Brent Bowden r-Jr. P/H
    50 Collin Carroll r-Fr. SN
      Jon Conlon r-So. SN
      Jacob Gardner Sr. SN
      Chris Hazley r-So. PK
      Dustin Keys r-Sr. PK
      Tim Pisano r-Fr. PK
      Brian Saunders r-So. P/QB
    63 Matt Tuttle r-Jr. SN
      Matt Waldron r-So. PK

    Headlines

    • Key Losses: Kicker Jud Dunlevy, snappers Scott King and Bart McMillin, holder Grant Throckmorton and return man Eddie Royal

      Key returner: Punter Brent Bowden is the lone returning starter among the specialists and is coming off a good first season. His strong leg could help the Hokies gain an upper hand in the battle for field position.

    • Battle to watch: The one thing Coach Frank Beamer didn't find during spring practice was a kickoff man. He plans to get the returning kickers together with a couple of invited walk-ons for a final audition in August.

    • Spring standout: Senior Dustin Keys put his best foot forward to become the leader for the place-kicking duties. Keys, who has been around the program for several years, has a chance to be same type of kicker as last year's starter, Jud Dunlevy.

    Players
    Place-Kicker
    DUSTIN KEYS (r-Sr.) - Competed for the job in the fall and moved to No. 1 with his consistency during the spring ... Has good pop, gets good height and possesses the most experience of the group ... Will play a key role for the Hokies.

    CHRIS HAZLEY (r-So.) - A walk-on who joined the competition during the spring ... Was not on the team last fall ... Gets good height on the ball and has a very natural action, which gives him a chance to develop the consistency needed for the job.

    TIM PISANO (r-Fr.) - An invited walk-on who got an opportunity to compete for the job during the fall and the spring ... Made a favorable impression, but has yet to show enough consistency.

    MATT WALDRON (r-So.) - Missed the last week of the spring with mono ... Is very sound fundamentally, but could use a little more height on his kicks ... Will return to the battle in August.

    We have a lot of holes to fill on special teams. Probably as important as any decision we'll make in August is going to be the place-kicker. Right now, Dustin Keys is the leader, but the competition will continue into the preseason. We are also unsettled on a kickoff guy. At the end of spring practice, we didn't have a kicker who could consistently get the ball around the goal line or kick the ball into the end zone. Finding somebody who can is a priority.

    - Coach Beamer on the Special Teams

    Punter
    BRENT BOWDEN (r-Jr.) - Did a good job as the starter last season with an average of 42.5 yards per kick ... Had 28 punts inside the opponents' 20-yard line ... Coaches will be looking for continued development this spring.

    BRIAN SAUNDERS (r-So.) - Served as the backup last fall ... Is expected to resume those duties in 2008 ... A hard worker who has the abiity to boom the ball.

    Snappers
    COLLIN CARROLL (r-Fr.) - Dressed for the first five games last season, but did not see action ... Came out of the spring with the short snapping duties ... Is a candidate for long snaps, but must improve his footwork.

    MATT TUTTLE (r-Jr.) - Got some practice time as a snapper during the fall ... Dressed for the final nine games, but did not play ... Finished the spring as the leading candidate at long snapper.

    JACOB GARDNER (Sr.) - Provides depth as a long snapper ... Has also spent time at DE.

    Holder
    BRENT BOWDEN (r-Jr.) - Handled the job in the spring and has done quite a bit of holding in practice ... Will be the primary man for the job when the season opens.

    BRIAN SAUNDERS (r-So.) and Jeff Beyer (Jr.) - Either scout team quarterback could step in if needed.

    Returners
    Victor "Macho" Harris (Sr.), Brandon Dillard (r-Jr.), Ervin Garner (r-Fr.), Kenny Lewis, Jr. (Jr.) - Harris looks to be the top candidate for punt returns, while Dillard picked up some experience on kickoff returns last fall ... The Hokies will do some experimenting with both of the return jobs during the preseason ... Several incoming freshmen could also get a close look.

    Taken from the Virginia Tech 2008 Football Media Guide which went to print in mid-June

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