It seems with each position I do in this series, I can list a bevy of successful Huskers every time. Would you expect special teams to be any different? Sam Koch is one of the best punters in the NFL. The Brown family have all seen success, both in college and in the pros. Can’t forget Alex Henery. We all know Sam Foltz would have been drafted and started year one.
But this year? This special teams unit has some question marks. Since this is a smaller unit, I’ll simply break down all the major positions.
It’s fairly obvious, but Caleb Lightbourn will be the starter for the third straight year. He increased his punt average from 39.7 yards to 42.1 yards per game from 2016 to 2017. If he makes a similar jump next year, he would statistically be a top 10 punter in the country. Imagine hearing that when he stepped into the impossibly huge shoes of Sam Foltz his freshman season.
The other punters on the roster are Isaac Armstrong and Jackson Walker.
Not much news on this front. Jordan Ober, the senior from Las Vegas, will be the long snapper. Although he has been sidelined with an injury, he should return right back into the roll when he returns with a clean bill of health. Defensive lineman and former Navy SEAL Damian Jackson has taken some snaps there as well, so watch to see if that’s a position he could move to.
Other long snappers on the roster include Cade Mueller, Cameron Pieper and Chase Urbach.
Whoever steps up in the punt return game will have to stand in the shadow of De’Mornay Pierson-El. While he never could quite recreate the magic of his freshman season, DPE was electric in the return game. A season ago, J.D. Spielman took a kick return 99 yards to the house, proving he had some of the similar electricity. He was better as a punt returner in high school. The question is will Frost want to use one of his main offensive weapons in the return game? Especially with other options, like Tyjon Lindsey, Mike Williams, Miles Jones or Andre Hunt?
This is where the big camp battle is. No one has been declared a winner thus far, though it feels like it’s true freshman Barrett Pickering’s job to lose. Pickering was perfect on extra points in the spring game and his missed field goal could be attributed to a rough snap and hold. Coach Frost’s comments have all leaned towards Barrett being the guy.
Cole Frahm, the walk-on freshman, missed an extra point and a field goal in the spring scrimmage, which will almost certainly lose him the job. Someone has to step in and try and match the consistency of Drew Brown. Can one of these guys do it?