2013 SDSU Football Season Preview: Special Teams

McMorrow kicks off

Seamus McMorrow, who recorded 33 touchbacks in 2012, will resume kickoff duties, and possibly more, in 2013. (Ernie Anderson/SDSU Media Relations)

Who’s gone

  • K Chance Marden

Projected starters (2012 stats)

  • K/P #17 Seamus McMorrow – So., 5-foot-11, 190 pounds (Punting: 41.7 yard average, 13 punts inside 20 ; Kickoffs: 33 touchbacks)
  • LS #60 Jeff Overbaugh – So., 6-foot-2, 240 pounds (52-52 on PATs, 14-14 on field goals, 48-48 on punts)
  • KR #24 Colin Lockett – RS Sr., 6-foot, 180 pounds (30 kickoff returns, 777 yards, two touchdowns, 25.9 yards per return)
  • PR #41 Tim Vizzi – RS Sr., 5-foot-10, 170 pounds (13 punt returns, 95 yards, 7.3 yards per return)

Key reserves/Players to watch

  • P #77 Joel Alesi – RS Jr., 6-foot, 235 pounds – If punting and kicking duties appear to be too much for McMorrow, expect Alesi to take over as the punter. Alesi saw action in two games in 2012 and punted six times for an average of 43.5 yards per punt, so he is a very reliable option if needed.
  • K #49 Wes Feer – Sr., 5-foot-11, 205 pounds – Similar to the Alesi option, San Diego State could try the combination of McMorrow at punter and Feer at kicker. A junior college transfer, Feer joined the team in the spring of 2012, and he will be determined to compete for the kicking job in his final season.
  • KR #33 Brandon Wright – RS So., 5-foot-11, 205 pounds – In the final three games of the 2012 season, teams were often afraid to kick the ball to Lockett due to his big playmaking ability. Keep an eye on Wright, as he will likely be on the field for kickoff returns as the second return man. Opposing teams may look to kick the ball in his direction to play it safe and avoid Lockett.

2013 Commitments
Currently, San Diego State has no commitments at punter, kicker, or long snapper.

Analysis
For a team replacing its entire kicking and snapping unit, San Diego State exceeded expectations with above average special teams play in 2012. McMorrow and Overbaugh proved to be great finds by the coaching staff, as both came in and played extremely well as true freshmen.

McMorrow was nearly flawless on kickoffs in the second half of the season, recording a touchback almost every time. Look for him to keep the kickoff job in 2013, and possibly be the starting punter and kicker as well. If all three appear to be too much for McMorrow, expect the coaching staff to flirt with the combination of Alesi at punter and McMorrow at kicker or McMorrow at punter and Feer at kicker.

In the return game, playmakers Lockett and Vizzi return in 2013 to lead what should be a key component of the Aztecs’ special teams. Lockett nearly broke the school record for most kickoff return yards in a season in 2012, but was rarely kicked to in the final three games and missed opportunities. He is just 51 yards shy of surpassing the record of former San Diego State receiver Monty Gilbreath (1986-1989) for most career kickoff return yards in school history.

Prediction
McMorrow will have over 40 touchbacks on kickoffs in 2013.


2013 Season Preview: Home
2013 Season Preview: Defensive Line
2013 Season Preview: Linebackers
2013 Season Preview: Cornerbacks
2013 Season Preview: Safeties

Stay tuned tomorrow for a preview on the wide receivers of the 2013 San Diego State Aztecs

by Hunter Hewitt

GO AZTECS


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Hunter Hewitt About.me – http://about.me/hunterhewitt
Hunter Hewitt: BrandYourself – http://hunterhewitt.brandyourself.com/
Hunter Hewitt: GoAztecs.com Player Profile – http://goaztecs.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/hewitt_hunter00.html
Hunter Hewitt: SDSU News Team Story: http://newscenter.sdsu.edu/sdsu_newscenter/news.aspx?s=73846


by Hunter Hewitt

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Aztec Stat of the Week: Long Snapping Efficiency

Aztecs For Life

Freshman long snapper Jeff Overbaugh has played an integral role in San Diego State’s success this season (Ernie Anderson/SDSU Media Relations)

In football, special teams often go unnoticed.

Even when special teams plays are highlighted, certain details of those plays are typically overlooked. For example, when a game-winning field goal is shown, the announcers rarely talk about how well the ball was snapped.

Long snappers play a critical role on every football team. In addition to snapping the ball to the holder for field goals, they also snap the ball on punts, ensuring that the ball reaches the punter in a timely manner and in the appropriate spot for the punter to kick the ball well.

Although long snappers rarely receive praise, San Diego State football long snapper Jeff Overbaugh deserves some recognition. The true freshman long snapper has been flawless all season with his snapping duties, and he has the stats to prove it.

Through 12 games, Overbaugh has snapped the ball well on all 105 attempts. He is 52-for-52 on PATs, 12-for-12 on field goals, and 41-for-41 on punts – impressive numbers for a freshman playing a nerve-racking position at the Division 1 level.

A product of  long snapping guru Chris Rubio – like former SDSU long snappers Aaron Brewer and Tyler Schmitt – Overbaugh’s talents have helped the Aztecs’ special teams immensely. Teamed with freshman punter Seamus McMorrow, San Diego State is sure to have a solid punting game for years to come. And although senior kicker Chance Marden will be gone after the season, Overbaugh will have the Aztecs nearly worry-free when it comes to field goal snaps for the next three seasons.

Did you miss the “Meet the Aztecs: Q&A with Jeff Overbaugh” piece from earlier in the season? Check it out here


LINKS:
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Hunter Hewitt: Twitter – http://twitter.com/hunterhewitt89
Hunter Hewitt: Facebook – http://facebook.com/hunterhewittSDSU
Hunter Hewitt: About.me – http://about.me/hunterhewitt
Hunter Hewitt: BrandYourself – http://hunterhewitt.brandyourself.com/
Hunter Hewitt: GoAztecs.com Player Profile – http://goaztecs.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/hewitt_hunter00.html


by Hunter Hewitt

GO AZTECS

Meet the Aztecs: Q&A with Jeff Overbaugh

Photo Credit: Ernie Anderson/SDSU Media Relations

The ninth in a daily series of Q&A’s with the 2012 signing class.

Jeff Overbaugh is a 6-foot-2, 240-pound long snapper from Anchorage, Alaska. He played at Service High School, where his team had a record of 10-0-1 his senior season. Along with playing long snapper, Overbaugh also saw time at offensive tackle and defensive end during his high school career. He was also a two-time team captain.

Overbaugh is a student of Chris Rubio, a long snapping guru who has coached hundreds of Division 1 long snappers over the past decade. Rubio also coached former San Diego State long snappers Tyler Schmitt and Aaron Brewer. Like Schmitt and Brewer, Overbaugh may be counted on immediately to take over snapping duties for the Aztecs.

GoAztecs.com player profile
Rivals recruiting page

Q: Why did you choose SDSU?
A: Isn’t it obvious? It’s because of the weather.

Q: How were the summer workouts for you?
A: They were great. I found pleasure in the struggle. That’s a Coach Hall quote right there.

Q: Have you picked your major yet?
A: I am going to major in kinesiology. I picked that because it’s a pretty common degree for a coach, and that might be what I want to do after football.

Q: What are you most excited for leading up to your first semester at San Diego State?
A: I’m excited to help San Diego State become a better football team.

Q: What do you like to do during your spare time?
A: I like to long snap. That’s all I do 24/7.

Q: Who are your favorite professional sports teams?
A: I like the Baltimore Ravens and the Boston Bruins. I have some family ties back east and I really like Ray Lewis.

Q: Is there any athlete that you look up to or try to model your game after?
A: I try to model my game after Christian Yount, the long snapper for the Cleveland Browns. I also like Zdeno Chara, a defenseman for the Boston Bruins.

Q: If you weren’t a football player, what sport would you be playing?
A: It would have to be hockey. I played until sophomore year of high school.

Q: What was it like growing up in Alaska?
A: Long, dark, winter nights. No, just kidding, it was great. I did a lot of outdoor stuff and there was good football. I grew up in a close-knit community.

Q: Have you been able to get in contact with former long snapper Aaron Brewer?
A: I haven’t talked to him yet but I just added him on Facebook. We were both coached by long snapping coach Chris Rubio. Rubio has connections with SDSU because of Aaron and also because he played with Coach White at UCLA. 

by Hunter Hewitt

GO AZTECS