Monday, February 20, 2012

Top Questions for Spring Practice: #6

2011 marked the first time in recent memory that TCU did not have an elite punt returner. The Frogs did take three kickoffs back for touchdowns, but two of them were by departed senior Greg McCoy, which is why the 6th biggest question facing this team headed in spring practice deals with the return game.

Receivers Skye Dawson and Brandon Carter and tailback Ed Wesley took the most turns at returning punts last season. None of them were ever able to match the game-changing heroics that guys like Cory Rodgers, Brian Bonner and Jeremy Kerley had displayed in previous seasons. Dawson and Carter both had some flashes- with season long returns of 42 and 43 yards, respectively- but also had some trouble with muffed catches and fumbles during returns. Wesley was more sure-handed when fielding punts, but did not often display the ability to produce long returns. He was definitely the most conservative option of the three.

Waymon James is the most experienced kick returner on the team, having returned 8 kicks for a total of 222 yards- including one for an 82-yard touchdown. Dawson is the only other returning player with experience returning kicks for TCU, having fielded 7 kicks for a total of 182 yards over the years.

The incumbents listed above will surely get the first shot at retaining the return roles in 2012, but there is no shortage extremely athletic candidates that will be looking to make their own impact on special teams this spring. How do you see these jobs being filled this fall? Which younger guys on the team do you think have the best chance to unseat the veterans?


Cowtown Food Junkie said...

I think new recruit Deante Gray will definitely be a big factor in the return game. If you watch his film you can see that he is really fast and can really make people miss, which is essential when returning punts. Have to have elusiveness as much as speed when returning punts. Wouldn't be shocked to see Jordan Moore have a chance on kick returns either. Skye can't be trusted on punts because of his poor hands, but he's been effective returning kickoffs. I'd expect Skye and Waymon as the favorites to return kickoffs, Gray or Carter returning punts. Carter showed flashes when he didn't muff the punt. I would like to see him earn the PR position because he moves so much like Kerley. Want the ball in his hands as much as possible.

EdK said...

I think Carter is going to be the punt returner and James and Dawson will do the kickoffs.

I don't foresee any of the freshmen getting a starting gig under any circumstances, considering all the veterans available. That's not to say they won't get to field a kick every now and then.

BigMo said...

FWIW, I heard that Patterson said Jordan Moore will get the chance to return kicks/punts next year. Wouldn't surprise me since he is the fastest recruit we have coming in.

Cali Frog said...

We were so pathetic this year on punt returns, it was ridiculous. I suggested we just didn't put anyone back there so there was no way to muff it. This year, I think that Brandon Carter will return punts and Skye and James return kickoffs. Carter did have some issues, but he's just too damn talented not to be back there. I also think GP will give a few of the new guys (Moore, Gray) a chance at some point