John Denton's Knights Insider: Season Preview Part 9 of 9 - Special Teams

Aug. 4, 2010

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Previous Positional Previews: QB | RB | WR | OL | TE | DL | LB | DB

By John Denton

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Here is a breakdown of UCF's special teams.

Training camp opens Aug. 5 and the Knights kick off the regular season on Sept. 4 at Bright House Networks Stadium against South Dakota.

POSITION: Special teams

ROJECTED STARTERS: PK Nick Cattoi (6-5, 210, Jr.); P Blake Clingan (6-3, 233, Sr.); LS Charley Hughlett (6-4, 253, Jr.); H Blake Clingan; KR Darin Baldwin (5-11, 207, Sr.), Quincy McDuffie (5-10, 175, So.); PR A.J. Guyton (5-11, 194, RJr.).

KEY RESERVES: K Jamie Boyle (5-10, 193, So.); P David Bohner (6-0, 173, RJr.); LS James Getsee (6-2, 222, RJr.); H Austin Hudson (6-1, 200, R.Sr.); PR Josh Robinson (5-10, 186, So.).

PLAYER TO WATCH: Quincy McDuffie. UCF head coach George O'Leary enters this season with one very specific goal as it relates to McDuffie - Get the ball into the electric playmaker's hands. He ran a kickoff back for a touchdown in his first collegiate game against Samford. And he very nearly did the same in the St. Pete Bowl against Rutgers, coming within a whisker of another kickoff return for a score. He will touch the ball this season in the run game off reverses, in the pass game as a starting wideout and in the return game on kickoffs. He could evolve into UCF's best return man since Joe Burnett.

STRENGTHS: Clingan and Cattoi have lots of big-game experience as the Knights punter and kicker, giving the coaching staff confidence that they can do their jobs. Clingan has a potential NFL leg with his power and hang time, but he must work on being more consistent. Cattoi made 14 of 20 field goals last season, including an impressive five of seven on 40-yard kicks. McDuffie has the potential to be an all-conference returner, while A.J. Guyton and Darin Baldwin should be steady in the punt return game.

WEAKNESSES: The Knights want more consistency out of Clingan and Cattoi this season. Clingan averaged just 37.3 yard a punt last season, but his extraordinary hang time allowed the Knights to be among the nation's leaders in punt coverage. UCF is also looking for more explosive plays out of the punt return game. Don't be surprised if cornerback Josh Robinson, who hopes to follow in the enormous footsteps of Joe Burnett, gets some time at punt returner.

COACH'S QUOTE: ``(McDuffie) could break it anytime. There were a couple of times where he was just a whisker away. He's had a good offseason, getting strong and thicker and he's still really quick. ... You can never have enough punt returners. We'll be looking for the guy who can take the eight-yard return and make it a 28-yard return. When we had Joe Burnett, we'd get so many of the guys blocked and Joe would do the rest. We missed that last year. We finished pretty good (in the rankings), but the goal was to make one first down, just get us 10 yards on the return. Anything beyond that we'll take it.'' - UCF special teams coach Tim Salem


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John Denton's Knights Insider appears on UCFAthletics.com several times a week. E-mail John at jdenton@athletics.ucf.edu.