The term “special teams” can be quite misleading as last year; Boston College's crew was quite erratic. Despite an immense amount of talent, kick returner Jeff Smith averaged a measly 22.1 yards per return with a long of only 42 yards.
Meanwhile, the underdog story of Steve “Sid Vicious” Aponavicius came to an end. Aponavicius was an impressive 13 for 14 on field goal tries, but held an uninspiring season long of 42 yards. Also departed is Rich Gunnell who was terrific in punt return duty, averaging 13.7 yards per return with one return touchdown. His presence will be sorely missed.
Propitiously, the Eagles do return punter Ryan Quigley. Quigley's 41 yards per punt? Good for fifth best in the ACC. Regrettably, he was also sixth in the entire country in punts attempted, exemplifying an anemic offense.
With Quigley the only special team mainstay returning, the question is who will fill these roles? Early indications have DeLeon Gause jumping into the role of kick and punt returner. In the past, Gause has shown great speed and explosiveness. DLG also has experience fielding kicks.
As for the placekicker? While Quigley has a powerful boot and was originally recruited as a kicker, expect him to avoid pulling double duty. Instead, freshman Nate Freese will likely get the call. According to Rivals.com, Freese was the 20th ranked kicker coming out of high school. After red-shirting for a year, Freese should be ready with ice in his veins.