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2009 Indiana football preview: special teams.

Now that I have discussed the offense and the defense, the final preview post of the off-season addresses special teams.  Tonight or tomorrow, Eastern Kentucky discussion will begin in earnest.

PLACE KICKERS:  For now, it appears that IU will be using redshirt freshman Nick Freeland as the placekicker.  Before the season, most expected that true freshman Mitch Ewald, a top five recruit from Naperville, Illinois, but he has been injured during fall practice and so Freeland will get the nod, at least for week one.  Senior Charlie Klingensmith, a walk-on (I think) who had never seen game action, is listed as the backup.  In short, no matter what, IU's kicker this season will be someone who has never played a down of college football.  Austin Starr, after an all-American 2007 season, struggled in 2008, but his departure makes place kicking a concern.

PUNTERS: Redshirt sophomore Chris Hagerup played so poorly last season against Western Kentucky that he was yanked from the game, but he quickly recovered, and he was an honorable mention all-Big Ten selection and freshman All-American.  He finished third in the Big Ten and #22 nationally with a 42.5 yard average.  Can he kick field goals?  Klingensmith is listed as Hagerup's backup as well. 

KICKOFF RETURNERS: Demetrius McCray and Ray Fisher are experienced returners.  IU will miss Marcus Thigpen, but these guys are expierenced.  McCray averaged 22.8 yards on 17 kickoff returns last season.  Fisher did not return any kickoffs last year, but did return punts (see below).

PUNT RETURNERS: Tandon Doss and Ray Fisher are listed as punt returners in that order.  Last year, Fisher average 9.6 yards on 11 returns last year.  Want to know something scary? IU recorded only 16 punt returns last season.  Doss did not return any kicks last season. 

Well, there they are, the 2009 Indiana Hoosiers.  Gameday is just three days away, and we will begin discussing Eastern Kentucky very soon.