LSU Spring Five Questions: Special Teams

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

What are LSU special teams looking like this spring?

Roster

38 Jamie Keehn (Jr.), P

6-4, 218

43 punts for 1,765 yards (41.05 avg), long of 58, 4 touchbacks, 18 inside the 20 and 10 over 50 yards.

42 Colby Delahoussaye (Soph.), K

5-10, 169

Made 13 of 14 field goals and 56 of 57 extra points. Long field goal of 49 yards.

21 Trent Domingue (Soph.) P/K

6-0, 165

DNP.

50 Reid Ferguson (Jr.) SNP

6-2, 235

Started all 13 games as deep snapper.

What's Good?

Always nice to have the principal components back on this side of the ball. The punter, kicker and deep-snapper are all back. Although kickoff specialist James Hairston has decided to transfer.

Colby Delahoussaye was a very pleasant surprise in 2013 that nobody really saw coming. The walk-on took over field goals and was incredibly accurate and consistent. Most expected the position to be a major question mark, and he wound up being rather reliable, including the 40-and-beyond yardage range.

Punting wasn't quite the weapon we've been used to, but that's more the product of the offense's renaissance. LSU punted all of 43 times in 2013 -- only Alabama punted fewer times. Jamie Keehn was respectable, but inconsistent. His 18 punts downed inside the 20-yard line with just four touchbacks was relatively solid, and his hangtime was enough that the Tigers again gave up the fewest return yards in the league. He did mix a couple of notable shanks in there, but he has a big leg and it's important to remember how raw he is. This isn't a Brad Wing that had played high school ball in the states. Keehn had literally never punted in an actual football game until he stepped on campus. He'll need to work on his consistency, to be sure, but there's still a lot of potential there.

And with some luck, maybe he won't be that needed again so much.

What's Bad?

Well, for starters, Keehn's not out there this spring, sidelined with an injury. That leaves walk-on Trent Domingue as the only punter working during the practices. Given that the punt team is also replacing some pretty key coverage components AND has a new coach as well, that's less than ideal.

In general, the coverage units will need to work in some new stalwarts. Guys like Alfred Blue, Jarvis Landry, Craig Loston, Micah Eugene and James Wright are all gone. Hairston's departure also hurts the kickoff team, although freshman Cameron Gamble may be the one to fill in there this summer.

Additionally, the unit is out a pretty dangerous return guy in Odell Beckham Jr. That leaves a hole both on punts and kickoffs.

What's the Goal this Spring?

Bradley Dale Peveto needs to establish his own way of doing things and bring his own type of attitude to his unit, and identify the veterans he'll want out there along with the incoming freshmen. Then, there's establishing some return options to compete with the likes of Jamal Adams and Trey Quinn when they arrive this summer.

What am I Watching For?

For younger guys like Ed Paris, Rickey Jefferson, Avery Peterson and John Diarse, special teams are another way for them to show their value on the field and a way that could help them line up their playing time on the offense and defense. Some older vets like Debo Jones, Lamar Louis, Dwayne Thomas, Melvin Jones and Kavahra Holmes will get in the act as well.

Returns aren't going to be settled until the fall, but look for Travin Dural and Tre'davious White to push for the punt and kick return spots for now.

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