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Preseason camp preview: Special teams
Release Date: 08/01/2014
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By Rob Moseley

Analyzing where things appear to stand at each position group entering preseason camp, based on developments last season, in the spring and over the summer.

PK: Matt Wogan, So.; Eric Solis, Sr.; Aidan Schneider, Fr.
P: Matt Wogan, So.; Ian Wheeler, RFr.
LS: Tanner Carew, Fr.; Connor Johnson, RFr.
HLD: Taylor Alie, RFr.; Jeff Lockie, So.
KOR: Keanon Lowe, Sr.; Thomas Tyner, So.
PR: Johnathan Loyd, Sr.; Darren Carrington, RFr.

The veterans: After heavy losses in the kicking game from last season, the Ducks at least return placekicker Matt Wogan. As a freshman in 2013, Wogan took over at midseason and made 7-of-9 field goals, including his first three attempts in the Alamo Bowl, one a career-long 39 yards. He had a bad miss in the spring game, but Wogan was solid in the two scrimmages during April. Consistency obviously will be a primary goal as Wogan enters his second season. Also this spring, Wogan added punting duties to his workload, a task he shared with 2013 redshirt Ian Wheeler.

Also back is kickoff return man Keanon Lowe, whose skills as a blocker at wideout were also put to use as the initial blocker in front of Oregon’s primary returner, either De'Anthony Thomas or Josh Huff last fall. Several contributors to the coverage and return teams also are back, notably Ayele Forde, DeForest Buckner, Tony Washington, Troy Hill and Erick Dargan.

The newcomers: The most prominent new face isn’t really new – former UO basketball star Johnathan Loyd turned out for spring drills and is in the mix as a receiver and returner entering this fall. Loyd was sure-handed receiving kicks in April, and is an elusive runner. There are several other options to return punts, but using Loyd in that role could ease the workload for a key guy at another position. Just as important, but hopefully much farther from the spotlight, will be freshman long snapper Tanner Carew. He takes over for Drew Howell, who enjoyed a near flawless four years in that role.

What to watch: The biggest bit of intrigue will be Wogan’s attempt to juggle the placekicking and punting jobs. He’s got a bigger leg than Wheeler, but the Ducks will want to be careful not to tax Wogan’s leg too much. Another kicker, Aidan Schneider, will be in camp to share reps there. Also, there are a bunch of options to sort through as kickoff and punt returners, including but not limited to Thomas Tyner, Darren Carrington, Devon Allen, B.J. Kelley, Dior Mathis and Ifo Ekpre-Olomu.

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