Special team coach Eric Russel stands watch.
This year, special teams coach Eric Russell has plenty to prove.
The Frank Broyles Award nominee has been hailed as the best at what he does. Special teams coaches are usually the first staff members to feel the sting of downsizing due to performance, but Dooley will keep this man under lock and key for as long as Russell wants. During his tenure at Louisiana Tech from 2007-2008, he developed the nation's No. 1 special teams unit, leading in every stat except for points accumulated. In 2009, he then went on to Texas Tech where accolades continued until he wound up back where Dooley wanted him.
Last year was far from accolades; I sincerely hope this will be his season.
The greatest need at this point is having a returner that can catch the ball and know how to wave off the uncatchable ones. The lack of experience was crystal clear last season, as the average punt return was 4.1 yards. Kickoff returns were decent, but high school freshmen can match last season's average of 21.5 yards and never break a sweat.
I know it's very tough and critical but shouldn't more be expected of scholarship athletes?
Da'Rick Rogers may finally answer all naysayers as the rumored hero, but I don't think Saturday will prove his ability. Look for the usual mix of anybody that wants to try.