Oh, NM State special teams unit. You scare me. Your frustrate me. You entertain me. You get me excited. One thing you don’t do is keep my emotions level!
I’m constantly on the edge of my seat whenever a field goal, punt or kickoff is taking place. Forrest Gump would have been right on the money if his line “life is like a box of chocolates” had been about the Aggies’ special teams. You never know if you will get a kick return touchdown or watch an extra point get blocked.
I may being a little harsh, but this unit has been inconsistent at best for the past five years. This year, I am going to be optimistic and say they have their best year in a long time.
Returning: K Dylan Brown, P Payton Theisler, KR Jason Huntley, LS Sly Slater, PR OJ Clark, K Issac Garcia, K Ethan Albertson, LS Austin Reeves
Departing: K Parker Davidson, LS Tim O’Donnell
Incoming: K Vincent Quezada, P Josh Carlson
The reason I am optimistic is because all four main special teams positions are occupied by experienced guys. K Dylan Brown has been the main field goal and extra point man for the past two seasons and Payton Theisler has been the man for the past three seasons. I think both of them will have really good senior seasons.
Perhaps the biggest reason for my optimism is because of return man Jason Huntley. Huntley has been a return machine the past two years. The 1st team Indy specialist took three kickoffs to the house last year and enters his senior year needing two more to set the FBS record for kickoff return TDs in a career.
On top of his three touchdowns, he averaged 27.2 per return. Not too shabby. He was even named to the Paul Hornug Award watch list.
Another reason to be optimistic is the coach, Ronnie Pentz. He came over from San Diego last year where his units were always among the best in the FCS and the results showed. With the players more familiar with what he wants, and the depth being a little better, the special teams units should show healthy improvement all around.