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2008 Football Preview: Special Teams

Part eight in an eight part series previewing the 2008 Kentucky Football Wildcats

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Seiber and Masthay both looking for consistency

The careers of both placekicker Lones Seiber and punter Tim Masthay have been tantalizing to Kentucky football fans. It is obvious that both have ability, and both have made extraordinary plays in their Wildcats careers. However, for every great kick, it seems that there is a corresponding clunker. With the likelihood of a more conservative game plan from the Cats this season, the kicking game will hold even more significance than in the past. It is likely that the Cats’ chances of continued success in 2008 rest largely upon the hope that both players develop more consistency this season.

Punter:

Tim Masthay 6-2, 203 Sr. Murray (Murray)

Though his punting has been middle of the road (39.8 average last season), Masthay has been a crucial part of Kentucky’s success. His kickoff ability alone is worth the scholarship as he led the conference by far in touchbacks. Has been solid as a holder an undoubtedly has the best career passer rating on the team based on his 1 for 1 performance in the 2006 Music City Bowl.

Placekicker:

Lones Seiber IV 5-9, 182 Jr. Knoxville, TN (Central)

Two year returning starter has a solid leg, but needs to be more consistent. Set Kentucky scoring record for points in a season by a kicker in 2007 with 99 points. Has made 27 of 44 career field goal attempts at UK.

Redshirt freshman Ryan Tydlacka is the backup at both the punting and placekicking spots. Coaches believe that he will be a significant contributor in his Kentucky career, but has yet to overtake either Masthay or Seiber.

Outlook:

Masthay’s punting has improved each year since his arrival in Lexington. Look for that to continue in 2008 with his average increasing into the 40 yards per kick range. For Seiber, it seems to be mostly a confidence issue. If he can make his first several significant kicks, he could develop into one of the better kickers in the league. If he gets off to a slow start, his job could be in jeopardy. The very underrated area of long snapping seems to be in good hands with Sophomore Brad Hart, who handled the responsibility very efficiently in his first year of action in 2007. The Cats also hope to come back from a one year slump from what has traditionally been an outstanding return game in the Brooks era. The great Dicky Lyons, Jr. and freshman Randall Cobb will provide the punt returns while Alfonso Smith, Tony Dixon, Derrick Locke and David Jones will vie for kickoff return duties.

Article written by Duncan Cavanah