One very critical area of the Washington Husky football program that was handled well under Steve Sarkisian was special teams. The Stanford game in 2013 was a prime example as Ty Montgomery had 204 kickoff return yards for the Cardinal.
The combination of having Cameron Van Winkle kicking off when he was not 100 percent and poor attention to detail in coverage is what led to Montgomery winning the game by himself in the return game. It was that game with that lack of focus on special teams by the Sarkisian led staff is what sparked the annual tradition of the three game regular season losing streak once again. This could have been avoided if Travis Coons had given then kickoff duties instead of Van Winkle.
Which leads into a very critical question for the 2014 season for the Washington special teams unit. That is who is going to step and replace Coons and his production in the kicking game this fall. Coons was outstanding last season for the Huskies as he was named second-team all Pac-12 as a punter and honorable mention all Pac-12 as a placekicker.
The thing that really stood out about Coons was his accuracy in making field goals as he made 15 of his 16 field-goal attempts. While offense and defense get the most headlines it is special teams play that can cost a team a critical game if they aren’t careful.
Thus, for Washington they need Cameron Van Winkle to take control of the placekicking duties once he is fully healthy. At punter, junior Korey Durkee needs to be reliable as a punter to help swing field position in the favor of the Husky Defense as much as possible.
The ability to develop depth at these specialist positions will protect Washington in the event of an injury taking place. In addition, the competition of having multiple players having ownership of the special teams kicking duties will only the Huskies stronger this fall.