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UTEP Football 2016 Position Group Preview: Special Teams

UTEP’s special teams units will be solid, but will inexperience at long snapper be a problem?

Long Snapper Depth Chart

  • Cooper Foster, Senior
  • Chance Bishop, Freshman

After graduating the always reliable Nick Dooley, UTEP will look for a pair of new comers at deep snapper. Foster has been the essential back up to Dooley the past couple of seasons and has the most "experience."

This could be UTEP's most worrisome part of their improved special teams makeup, but let's hope it doesn't become a major issue in terms of inexperienced mistakes.

Kick/Punt Returner

  • Terry Juniel, Sophomore, KR/PR
  • Warren Redix, Sophomore, PR
  • Walter Dawn, Freshman, KR
  • Jaquan White, Senior, PR

One of the most improved areas Sean Kugler thinks his team has made is in the punt return game, which certainly can use a major boost.

"I’m very confident in Terry Juniel, getting him healthy. Sean Kugler said. "We were banking on him last year and he missed the entire year with a broken foot. He is back healthier than ever. He is moving great. He’ll be our punt returner and kick returner. I also love what I am seeing out of some of the other returners like Warren Redix and Jaquan White."

Another name to keep an eye on is speedy freshman Walter Dawn.

"We have this little freshman, Walter Dawn that is electric, and I think at some point early in the season Miner fans are going to see what he can do as well." Kugler added. "He’s a guy that can take it to the house. He’s got outstanding speed. I think our return units are going to be much improved."

"I think if you had to point to any one unit offensively or defensively, the biggest improvement is going to be on special teams because I really like where we’re heading depth wise and schematically wise.” Kugler went on to say.

Special teams coverage unit’s are another area that will be improved.

With adequate depth at linebacker, fullback, and tight ends, UTEP's physicality in their coverage units should be a major strength.

"We have improved our depth all the way across the board and really more body types." Kugler said. "By switching to the 3-4, we have more linebacker types, more fullback/tight end types. Instead of really throwing out a special teams unit of just defensive backs and wide receivers that weight 170, 180 pounds, we’re throwing out guys that weigh 220, 230 pounds. You have a chance to be a more physical coverage unit."

Kicker/Punter

With Alan Luna handling punts, and Jay Mattox returning to kick, the Miners have one of the top kicker/punter combos in the conference.

Mattox has improved every year as a Miner, and Luna ended up being a breakout star last season. Luna will also be the holder, and averaged 44.4 yards per punt on his 65 punts last season.

Mattox has made double digit field goals the past two seasons, and is 35-of-50 for his career, and could get legit NFL looks if he has another solid season. .