As fall camp approaches, let's try and answer some burning questions about this year's team:
Heading into last year, Oregon State looked to have one of the top special teams units in the country. With Alexis Serna back for his senior year, punter Kyle Loomis back (he averaged 41.3 yards per kick in 2006), and Sammie Stroughter and Coye Francies to return kicks, the Beavers appeared to be set. Then, everything turned for the worse.
Francies was dismissed, Strougher played in only three games and wasn't himself, and Kyle Loomis left unexpectedly in August. That left us with Alexis Serna to do the kicking and punting, Taylor Kavanaugh to return punts, and Gerard Lawson and James Rodgers to return kicks.
Heading into 2008, the Beavers lose Serna, lose long snapper Joel Cohen, and still do not have a proven punter on the roster.
We redshirted Kyle Harper last year, well, I thought we did, until I looked at this year's media guide and didn't even see HIM on the roster. According to our "two-deep" depth chart, Sean Sehnem is the punter. But there's another guy, Johnny Hekker, who's also listed as a punter. So we'll see how that goes.
Marcus Perry will be the long snapper. He's a freshman.
Justin Kahut will be the kicker. He's a sophomore from Clackamas High School. He did impress us all in the spring game, however, when he made four field goals look easy from distances of 42, 50, 55, and 31-- all in the first half. So he's got that going for him.
Perhaps the best thing this unit has going for them is that junior holder Taylor Kavanaugh is back. He's a junior out of Portland's Lincoln High School.
And Sammie Strougher is also back. He and Taylor Kavanaugh will likely share the punt returning duties, with James Rodgers and Patrick Henderson returning kicks.
Is someone going to step up to do the punting in fall camp?