With fall camp just underway special teams coordinator Kent Riddle has less than 30 days to put the finishing touches on his reorganized squad before the opener against Washington. Now entering his seventh season as a member of the Boise State football coaching staff, and his second as associate head coach and special teams coordinator, he knows the importance of fielding a specialty team that can make the difference in winning or losing a game. This season he is replacing his kicker, several kickoff returners, and a number of linebackers and blockers who either transferred, retired, graduated last year or left the team during spring ball.
Perhaps no position on special teams is more important than the kicker and Tyler Rausa is that man. He redshirted and served as a backup in 2014, and now it’s his turn to kick. He only booted one PAT last year for the Broncos, but the Riverside City College transfer made 15 of 20 on field goal attempts at Riverside in 2012. He also had a great spring workout coming into fall camp. Blake Gonzalez looks to be the backup this season and both will be booting practice balls through the uprights.
Punter Sean Wale, the returning starter, is also getting a workout and making some impressions as you can see from the retweet from Rausa's twitter feed. His 66 punts last season averaged 42 yards per kick with 20 of those punts landing inside the 20-yard line. He had fourteen punts sail for 50 yards or more and had eight punts in the Fiesta Bowl that averaged just under that. Wale is also the holder for returning long snapper Kevin Keane and has been working out with both Keane and his backup, #42 LS Matt Cota.
The kickoff return job is an open question as RB Jeremy McNichols could be the starter in the offensive backfield. As the season progresses you can expect to see him fielding some of those high kicks for special teams. Last season as a kickoff return specialist he averaged 20.7 yards a return. But team wise, the Broncos were ranked last in the conference in kickoff returns with an average of just 18.77 yards per return so things could be changing. It looks like this year both WR Shane Williams-Rhodes and CB Donte Deayon are also in the mix and both are practicing to handle not only kickoff returns but punt returns. Williams-Rhodes was the 6th best punt returner in the MWC last season.
Want to see how the Broncos take a day like Sunday off to rest and relax during fall camp? Click on the video below:
Projected starters for special teams:
#49 K Tyler Rausa, 5-9, 195, R-Jr.
#19 P Sean Wale, 6-2, 185, R-Jr.
#46 LS Kevin Keane, 6-0, 212, Sr.
PUNT RETURNER/KICKOFF RETURNER
#1 WR Shane Williams-Rhodes