Special teams aren't usually a unit that gets a lot of publicity. But Nebraska returns several keys members of a special teams unit that burst on the field in 2011.
Ranking ninth in the nation averaging nearly 30 yards on kickoff returns in 2011, Nebraska boasts one of the most explosive special teams players in the country in Ameer Abdullah.
"Ameer is our main guy," said Nebraska senior wide receiver Tim Marlowe. "You guys have seen what he can do last year. And I'm excited to be back there again and hopefully throw some big blocks for him."
Missing only four field goals a season ago, senior Brett Maher is back as NU's starting kicker and punter.
"There's always room for improvement," said Maher. "I missed four field goals. Definitely miss hit some punts. There's always room for improvement and I'm just trying to fine tune some things and get as perfect as a I can."
Maher ranked 14th in then nation in punting average and accounted for 20 touchbacks on kickoffs in 2011. But in February, the NCAA approved changes for kickoffs and touchbacks. Beginning this season, teams will kick off from the 35-yard line instead of the 30. Touchbacks will also be moved from the 20 to the 25 on yard line on kicks, but not punts. The changes are designed to reduce injuries but they also present a new challenge when it comes to creating a game plan.
"My personal opinion I think it might be better most of the time to keep it out of people's hands and not even give the opportunity," said Maher. "But we've had really good coverage units here in the past, so I don't think we'd be wrong going that route also."
Even with the new rules, Nebraska plans on producing another dominant special teams squad in 2012.
"I don't think you find a lot of places around the country that treats special teams with the amount of discipline or work that it takes to as we do around here," said Maher.
Nebraska kicks the season off September 1st against Southern Mississippi.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2013 WorldNow and KTIV Television Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Kathy Clayton at (712) 239-4100 x209. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at email@example.com.