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Boston College Football Preview: The Special Teams

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Boston College v Louisville Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The Eagles special teams, particularly field goal kicking, have haunted the Eagles since the 2014 New Era Pinstripe Bowl. At times BC fans celebrate a made field goal more than a touchdown. Then there are occasions such as Ben Glines punt return for a touchdown against Clemson where the special teams gave the Eagles faithful a bright spot in an otherwise complete rout. Much like the 2019 season BC’s special teams were not terrible but not great either.

In a season filled with so much uncertainty special teams can certainly make things easier. Field goals provide easy points while punts, kickoffs, and returns can help the Eagles control field position making it easier for both offense and defense. Thankfully, 2020 brings some stability...at least to the Eagles’ special teams.

Kickers

BC’s primary field goal kicker, Aaron Boumerhi, returns as a grad student. Boumerhi was a perfect 100% on extra points last season and was 12 for 18 in terms of field goals. 66.7% is not a great mark but a good one but more importantly Boumerhi made the kicks when it counted, hitting a go-ahead field goal late in the fourth quarter against Lousiville. Boumerhi has proven he’s got a big leg as his career long is 52 yard, albeit that occurred when he was still at Temple, but the kicker needs to improve his consistency. Junior Danny Longman could be thrown into the mix if Boumerhi struggles but Longman was primarily used on the kickoff team. If Redshirt-Sophmore Stephen Ruiz has a strong camp then maybe he could be thrown into the mix. Ruiz missed 2019 due NCAA transfer rules, Ruiz redshirted his freshman year at New Mexico State. Boumerhi has the gameday experience so all signs point to him being the starter on day one. Redshirt-Sophmore John Tessitore is also on the roster though he is listed as a kicker and punter and will likely not see much on field action barring any injuries.

Punters

Grant Carlon is the only player listed on the Eagles’ roster as a pure punter. Carlson average a modest 42.7 yard per punt last season and totaled 2,774 yards. As mentioned above Longman did have two punts last season so presumably he will be the back-up punter with Tessitore serving as a third string punter.

Kick Returners

Travis Levy was the heavy lifter for BC last season in the return game but only averaged 22.5 yards per kick return and 7.5 yards per punt return. Now the senior is presumed to be the second string back behind David Bailey and that may effect how much Coach Hafley is willing to use him on special teams. His experience and backup role on offense still makes Levy a likely choice as BC’s return specialist. That being said Hafley may look for another option given Levy’s modest production.