March 19, 2013
Bearcat football spring preview: Special Teams
Trying to replace one player that leaves his name in the record books is tough enough. Trying to replace two is what the Bearcats will be tasked with on special teams after losing seniors, Todd Adolf and Jordan Simmons.
The graduation of Adolf leaves an important piece to be filled for the Bearcats in 2013. Adolf was one of the most consistent kickers in the MIAA and owns the highest career field goal percentage in Northwest history at 73.3 percent (33-of-45).
Simmons was an All-America returner for the Bearcats in 2011 and a two-time All- Region selection. He finished his career with the highest kick return average in Northwest history and the second highest punt return average. Simmons also found the end zone five times in his career to set the MIAA record for kickoff returns, and leaves as one of the most dynamic returners to play for the Bearcats.
Replacing a player that will go down as one of the most clutch kickers in Northwest history will fall on the shoulders of red-shirt freshmen Ben Trewyn and Austin Weaver.
Trewyn (Pleasant Valley HS; Bettendorf, Iowa) and Weaver (Canyon HS; Canyon, Texas) both red-shirted last season and after solid high school careers lead the battle for kicking duties in 2013. Joining the mix in the fall will be true-freshman Alex Easley from Webb City (Mo.) High School, who helped the Cardinals win their third straight Missouri Class 5 State Championship.
While the aforementioned trio of Trewyn, Weaver and Easley will battle for place kicking and kickoff duties, All-MIAA punter Kyle Goodburn will handle the responsibilities on fourth down again. Goodburn improved on his freshman season becoming the top punter in the MIAA as a sophomore and earned all-region honors. He also led the MIAA in punt average and finished fourth in NCAA-II at 44.2 yards per punt.
Maybe one of the biggest holes for the Bearcats to fill will be at punt and kick returner. With the loss of Simmons and Tyler Shaw, Northwest will search both its backfield and wide receiver corps to find a replacement.
A long list of Bearcats will take their turn at returning both punts and kicks. Bryce Young and Kohlman Adema-Schulte both handled duties sparingly last season and find their names near the top of the list. Outside of Young and Adema-Schulte, as many as nine different Bearcats will fight for their opportunity to see the field on special teams and become the next game changer.
Check back Wednesday for Part 3 of 4 as we take a look at the Bearcat offense and look at maybe the deepest position in 2013 as well as the position with the most questions marks.
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