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Baylor Football 2014 Position Previews: Special Teams

We've been accused 'round these parts of not giving special teams their due in the past. That changes today.

Christian Petersen

Now that we're through the offense and defense in this year's Position Previews, it's time to turn to the third phase of the game about which we care far less than we probably should: Special Teams.  In the past, I've avoided looking into this phase too much for the same reason you don't ask what's actually in a hot dog: you don't really want to know.  But because ignorance isn't really bliss, we're going there today.


Eligibility Remaining
No. Player Year Ht/Wt. Position 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
46 Kyle Peterson
SR 5-11/210 K

40 Chris Callahan
RS-FR 5-9/185 K

39 Spencer Evans
FR 6-0/160 K

I'm not going to bother breaking these guys out individually.  Chris Callahan is the likely "starter" at placekicker, and in yesterday's scrimmage, he hit a 36-yard field goal and two extra points.  Peterson kicked off in six games last season, so I wouldn't be surprised to see him do that again this year.  As far as we know, Callahan is the only scholarship player of the three.


Eligibility Remaining
No. Player Year Ht/Wt. Position 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
36 Spencer Roth
SR 6-5/220 P

Spencer "The Leg" Roth is the only nominal punter we have the roster, though it should be noted that during his recruitment, Callahan was billed as possibly filling both roles.  Roth is as known a quantity as there is at the position.  Look at his career stats:

Spencer Roth
Year Games Punts Yards Avg. TB FC Inside 20 50+ Long
2011 11 29 1174 40.5 3 5 6 5 64
2012 13 36 1577 43.8 4 8 13 9 65
2013 12 52 2379 45.8 7 20 17 17 72
Career 36 117 5130 43.8 14 33 36 31 72

This is my first time ever trying to do a stats chart like that, so bear with me.

Roth's stats have improved each of the last three years to the point that he made the preseason watch list for the Ray Guy Award given to the nation's best punter.  He's as good as it gets in terms of punters, and though we don't use him all that much compared to other schools, he's a weapon.

Kick Returners

With Clay Fuller out for the first few games, at least, we really don't know who our kick returners will be.  Briles has said that Fuller was their guy at that spot after the departure of Robbie Rhodes over the summer, and they're apparently trying a bunch of different people out at the position.  Because it's so up in the air, I won't do a chart for this spot.  Rather, here's a list of potential returners you might see this year:

  • RB Johnny Jefferson -- Listed on the post-spring depth chart with Rhodes as a returner.  Injuries at the RB spot may have changed their mind on this.
  • WR Corey Coleman -- Baylor's leading kick returner last year with 17 returns averaging 28.4 yards per return.  Seems doubtful to play against SMU at this point, otherwise I'd bet he would be one the guys.
  • WR Levi Norwood -- Baylor's #2 kick returner last year with 12 returns averaging 20.6 yards per return.  Since he's basically guaranteed to be the punt returner, you might not want him doing both.
  • CB Terrence Singleton -- Listed on the post-spring depth chart as a backup KR.  Played entirely on offense in HS, so it's worth considering.
  • WR Antwan Goodley -- Has returned kicks before and may do so again in a pinch, if we're without Coleman and Fuller for longer than we think.  Probably don't want to risk injury with him, though.
  • WR K.D. Cannon -- More likely that you see him returning punts than kicks, I think, but maybe.
  • WR Chris Platt -- Just thinking out loud, really.  If he plays, this might be a place to use him.
  • WR Cal Spangler -- Throwing out names now.

We'll keep an eye on things going forward here.  I really do think they just don't know at this point what they'll do.

Punt Returners

Write down that Levi Norwood is returning punts.  That's a given.  Baylor fielded 27 punts last year, and he returned 25 of them.  The other 2 went to Cal Spangler, who was listed as the backup PR on the post-spring depth chart.  I could see K.D. Cannon getting the chance to return a punt or two late in games at some point, too.