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Two a Days UB Football Previews: Special Teams

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NCAA Football: Buffalo at Penn State Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

While most people overlook special teams, it can win and lose games for teams and is a critical part of football. UB recently graduated one of it’s most decorated punters in Tyler Grassman and he left some big cleats to fill after starting in every game since his true freshman year. I won’t be looking at the returners on this post as I don’t have much information on who has been returning kicks during camp.

Projected Starters

K - Adam Mitcheson, R-So., 6-2, 205 - Mitcheson had an up and down year, starting all 12 games and connecting on 13 of 19 field goal attempts (68%) and 31 of 36 extra point attempts (86%). While those numbers don’t look great they are skewed by the fact that not all of the misses were Mitcheson’s fault. Several times the blocking in front of him was not adequate and he had plenty of kicks blocked that shouldn’t have been. Mitcheson has an adequate leg and with another year under his belt I would look for him to improve on his accuracy beyond 30 yards while starting all 12 games.

P - Taylor Sheets, Fr., 6-1, 212 - A highly regarded kicker and punter during his prep career, Sheets averaged almost 40 yards per punt his senior season and 86 percent of his kickoffs went for touchbacks. Sheets will be battling Conor Clarke for the starting punting job but I think it’s Sheets’ to lose. Look for Sheets to follow in Tyler Grassman’s footsteps and start from Day 1 with both punting and kickoff duties.

LS - Corbin Grassman, Sr., 6-1, 225 - Long snapper is a position that you normally don’t think twice about, unless the player screws up and costs the team. Luckily for UB Corbin Grassman has been solid since he arrived on campus. Grassman has played mistake free football and had a great connection with cousin Tyler. He’ll be snapping to a new punter this season but I would not expect any drop off in performance. In addition to starting all 12 games look for Grassman to (hopefully) bring the #LongSnapperWars back this season.

Key Reserves

Conor Clarke, Sr., 6-2, 227 - A transfer from Erie Community College, Clarke will be competing with Taylor Sheets for the starting job at punter.

Kyle DeWeen, Jr., 6-0, 187 - A teammate of Conor Clarke’s at Erie Community College, DeWeen will serve as a backup to Adam Mitcheson this season.

Michael Cummings, R-Fr., 6-1, 193 - Cummings will also serve as depth among the kickers.

Jacob Dogal, R-Fr., 6-0, 212 - A WNY and walk-on to the team, Dogal will serve as the backup to Corbin Grassman this season.