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August 11, 2008

Bowden headlines unknown special teams group

By: Jimmy Robertson

A year ago, Tech head coach Frank Beamer went into fall practices not quite knowing about his team’s kicking situation.

Suffice it to say, things worked out fine. After all, Brent Bowden averaged 42.5 yards per punt and Jud Dunlevy made 21 out of 26 field-goal attempts.

Beamer’s hoping things work out just as smoothly again.

Bowden returns and will be fine after a solid first season as a starter, placing 28 of his 88 punts inside the 20 and booming 18 beyond 50 yards. But Dunlevy departed along with snappers Scott King and Bart McMillin, and holder Grant Throckmorton. Thus, Beamer – who handles most of the special teams duties – finds himself overhauling the unit again.

Dustin Keys figures to win the kicking job after an outstanding spring. But he’ll get competition every day from the trio of Chris Hazley, Tim Pisano and Matt Waldron. Beamer is hoping that someone will emerge to do kickoffs – no one really impressed in this area during the spring.

Collin Carroll and Matt Tuttle snapped well throughout the spring, giving Tech some depth at the spot.  

In the return game, Macho Harris will get the first crack at trying to replace Eddie Royal, an All-ACC returner from a year ago who returned two for touchdowns. Harris returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown last season against Clemson and has the ability to be a great one. He may do both punts and kickoffs this season.



6 Dustin Keys (6-2, 212, r-Sr.) – Was tremendous during the latter part of spring and is the favorite to win the job.
9 Tim Pisano (5-9, 169, r-Fr.) – Has a strong leg and is looking for consistency.
2 Chris Hazley (6-1, 185, r-Soph.) – Had a 42-yarder in the spring game.
4 Matt Waldron (5-11, 186, r-Soph.) – Sidelined with mono in the spring and is working his way back.


97 Brent Bowden (6-3. 212, r-Jr.) – Has the potential to be an all-conference punter.
30 Brian Saunders (6-0. 206, r-Soph.) – Keeps getting better and is a solid No. 2 option.


50 Collin Carroll (6-3, 220, r-Fr.) – Had impressive prep credentials and will get to display them this fall.
63 Matt Tuttle (6-0, 228, r-Jr.) – A hard worker who had a good spring as a snapper.