Special Teams “Guys”
Special teams are something that I hold very close to my heart. As a former college football player, I started a few games and was a rotational player throughout my four year career at the College of the Holy Cross (Go Saders). I never consistently started, but always wanted to find a way onto the field. Like others, I yearned to be a special teams “guy”. A special teams guy is someone the coaches insert into as many special teams units as possible, primarily focusing on kick and punt return coverage units, and even blocking on punt/kick returns. To be clear, my definition does not include the guys returning the kicks. It is not glorious by any means, but something I took intense pride in. Honestly, the rush of making a special teams tackle and going back to the sidelines celebrating with the other special teams guys has to be some of my fondest athletic memories. As a former special team guy, I wanted to highlight who on this roster could be those “guys” during the 2019 season.
Quick Tribute to the GOAT
Any fan of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish remembers former walk on, special teams hero, Mike Anello. He was a missile coming down the field and was always around the ball. He didn’t contribute anywhere else on the field, but always made his presence known. Every tackle he made was a jolt of energy into the rest of the team, because he took such pride in it.
2019 Special Teams “Guys” Contenders
-Paul Moala- A local kid who played special teams a year ago. As the second team rover he will be playing occasionally, but can carve out an impactful role on all STs.
-Avery Davis- A quarterback turned WR, RB, and now defensive back. The coaches want to find a role for him as he is clearly athletic and a hard worker. He is not slotted to make much noise in the secondary, so STs could be his way on the field.
-Marist Liufau - 1 word. FLOW. Seeing that hair streaking down on kickoffs will be a thing of beauty. He has received great reviews in camp so far, but lacks the size to contribute on defense this year.
-Bo Bauer - MEAT STICK. Bo Bauer may have been put on this earth to run down on kickoff with his hair on fire. He will see some time at Mike this year, but will be a key force on all STs units.
-Jack Kiser - Like Moala, I generally have a soft spot in my heart for the local guys, especially as freshman. The reports are that he has ideal speed and length to be a great linebacker for the Irish, but just not yet.
-Mick Assaf - Gotta throw in a WOPU (walk on players union) pick. He was named special teams player of practice during camp and wears elbow pads. He has STs hero written all over him. Plus the celebrations that WOPU nation would pull out if he makes a tackle will be fantastic.
-Kyle Hamilton - You guys already know.
Marist Liufau. Hawaiians have a history of doing juuuuust fine for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Marist’s combination of length, speed, aggression, and most importantly, flow, will allow him to be a force on special teams. Look for him to make the first tackle on kickoff for the Irish this year. He will be a VERY good linebacker in years to come, but needs more time to bulk up into his lanky frame. The reports coming out of the summer are that he works out like an animal, which should translate quite well on all coverage units.
Leave your pick on the comments and let me know if you think I left anyone off the list!
Not a big deal but I once had 3 solo tackles on kickoff vs. the Colgate Raiders my sophomore year. NBD, but KBD.