Troy special teams rebuilds for 2012

Published 11:43 pm Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Will Scott punts the ball during practice (Photo/Thomas Graning)

One might think that replacing three players on a football team shouldn’t be such a big deal. But when those three players make up the entire unit, things can get unsettling.

The Troy Trojans must replace all three members of the special teams unit: punter Will Goggans, place kicker Michael Taylor and long snapper Wes Henry.

All were multi-year starters, and had significant impact during their tenures at Troy.

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“It always makes for an interesting year for a special teams coordinator, when you lose those three guys,” said special teams coach Shayne Wasden. “I am pleases with what we have had so far, we have gotten better every day.”

Replacing the departed specialists is a young, but talented group of players.

Will Scott was a JUCO All-American at Gulf Coast Community College in Mississippi last year, and over 43 yards per punt. Scott he isn’t looking to “be Goggans,” but to work hard and help out the Trojans.

“We work a lot harder on the field and in the weight room here,” said Scott. “I’m up for the challenge. I know the guys behind me are working hard to take my place, so I’m here to work.”

Wes Henry handled the long snapping duties for the Trojans for three seasons, the last two years he handled the duties on field goals, punts and extra points.

Kendall Gibson, a junior from Greenville, will battle Hunter Graham for the snapping job throughout fall camp.

“Long snapping is all about technique, like shooting free throws,” said Gibson. “I have a routine I go through before every snap, and pay attention to even the smallest of details.”

Scott will enter the season as the leading candidate for punter but can also place kick. Wasden said Scott’s versatility eases the transition to the new group.

“It always helps to have a kid that has kicked at the collegiate level before,” said Wasden. “He has been in some big games in junior college, and when a guy can do both you always have a solid backup if it is needed.

The placekicking duties are still up in the air. Wasden said that none of the kickers have much if any game-time experience, so the battle for the job will continue in to Saturday’s scrimmage.

Spencer Martin, a senior, handled some of the duties towards the end of 2011, but none of the kickers have distinguished themselves from another.

“We won’t make a call on a starter until after Saturday,” Wasden said. “Until we get to that first game and they get it done, you really won’t feel confident.”