Hoo Preview ’08: Special Teams

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The Roster

4: Vic Hall – 5’9″, 190, Jr., holder

4: John Thornton – 6’4″, 212, Sr., punter
8: Jimmy Howell – 6’6″, 238, , Fr, punter
10: Yannick Reyering – 6’5″, 205, Sr., kicker
11: Chris Hinkebein g – 6’1″, 190, R-Fr., kicker
15: Scott Deke – 6’3″, 215, Sr., holder
29: Nathan Rathjen – 5’10”, 182, So., punter
30: Robert Randolph – 5’10”, 160, Fr., kicker
66: Danny Aiken – 6’4″, 250, So., long snapper
90: Crutcher Reiss – 6’5″, 255, Jr., long snapper
* Numbers subject to change

Coaches often refer to special teams as one third of the game, but statistically that’s really not the case. Last fall, the Cavaliers participated in 2,232 plays – 924 on defense (41.3%), 918 on offense (41.1%), and 390 on special teams (17.4%). Still, the numbers don’t always reflect the impact of special teams play in a game.

Consider that each special teams play either involves a scoring opportunity or a field position change. Each week, from high school to the NFL, games are won or lost because of blocked kicks, big returns, missed extra points, or some other aspect of special teams play.

Take a look at some of the plays that impacted UVa’s season in 2007:

  • All of Duke’s 13 points in its 24-13 loss to Virginia were a result of special teams miscues by the Hoos.
  • Pitt opened the game against Virginia with an onside kick, which the Cavaliers recovered before scoring a TD four plays later. Another UVa score was set up by a fumbled kickoff. Two others were a result of two long punt returns and Virginia scored its final TD on a fake FG. Pitt’s first score was set up when UVa fumbled a punt.
  • Virginia blocked a 33-yard field goal in the first half of its game against Middle Tennessee State. The Raiders lost by two points.