10-Day Hoo Preview: Position Outlook, Special Teams

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The Virginia football team, for the most part, is very successful and very efficient on special teams. Sure UVa practices kicking and punting a lot, but there is another reason the Hoos produce in this phase – the personnel on the various units. Many of the Cavaliers’ most talented players are also first string on special teams.

Essentially, special teams at Virginia reads like a combination depth chart for offense and defense. Jason Snelling, Tony Franklin, Tom Santi , Cedric Peerman , Vic Hall, Mike Brown – the list goes on and on. The fact that so many important and veteran players take part in special teams is a clear indicator of just how important this facet of the game is to Al Groh and his staff.

“On offense, you mess up on first down, you have second down or third down to try to make up for it. You mess up on special teams, that’s one-play football. You’re only as good as your last effort on special teams,” said Santi, who plays on the kickoff return, punt return, and field goal protection units. “A blown assignment can mean a game-changing play. If you mess up on kickoff coverage, you might give up a touchdown. So special teams are definitely a big part of the game. You have to be really focused on it. You can’t go in saying ‘I’m Tom Santi the tight end’, you have to think ‘I’m Tom Santi , the special teams player’. There’s definitely a different mentality.”

Kickoff Specialist/Field Goal Kicker

Chris Gould (6-1, 204, junior)
Noah Greenbaum (5-10, 189, senior)

Chris Gould is expected to handle kickoffs this season – he might start at the other two kicking