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2008 Football Previews: The Return Men

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This is the last installment of the 2008 Previews, and today we focus on the return game.  The headliner of the return group is the man on the left, above.  Trindon Holliday.  He's scored 2 electrifying touchdowns on kickoff returns in his career.  Let's take a look at them:

I particularly like when Verne Lundquist says, "This is over," when Trindon is at his own 35 yard line.  

Trindon averaged over 26 yards per return, which is pretty darn good.  Maybe we'd like to see those big returns a little more often, but 26 yards per is giving us good field position.

Keiland Williams (right) hasn't been as productive at this particular job, averaging less than 20 yards per return.  One would imagine he has the potential to be a game breaker returning kicks, but he hasn't shown it so far, having a long return of only 25 yards.

These two should be a very solid tandem at returning kicks again this year.


When it comes to punt returns, things are a lot more average.  Safety Chad Jones was our leading punt returner, and he wasn't all that good, averaging a mere 6.6 yards per return, and fumbling a couple times.

Jones is a tremendous athlete, but he never looked comfortable with the ball in his hands, and never appeared to be on the verge of breaking one.  His long return on the season was 16 yards.  This is another year, but frankly Jones didn't show me any of the flashes of brilliance one would expect of someone with a breakout year in his future.  

He'll be a great safety, but he appeared to be a square peg in a round hole when asked to return punts.  With a new special teams coordinator on the staff, maybe there will be a change here.  Where does that leave us?  How about with a couple of redshirt freshmen?

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Both of these guys were highly coveted recruits in the 2007 class, and they both redshirted last year.  The man on the left is #13 Ron Brooks, while the sleepy-eyed gentleman on the right is #31 John Williams, both of whom were profiled briefly in the section on cornerbacks.  Both are smaller than Chad Jones by about 40 pounds, and both are quick as lightning, which one looks for in a punt returner.  Brooks' bio page at lists him as the backup punt returner heading into Fall Camp, and Williams bio page says he's a return specialist.

Don't be shocked, also, if newcomer Patrick Peterson doesn't figure into this picture at some point as well.  Also, it wouldn't surprise me if Trindon gets another shot at punt returning.  It is said he had a problem catching punts, but darnit, so did Chad Jones and he got chance after chance.

I have never seen either of these guys in action on a college field, and you just never know how a guy is going to react to