2012 Army Report Card: Special Teams

Eric Osteen

ArmySports.com continues its review of the 2-10 2012 Army Black Knight's season, position-by-position. Today we review the cadet special teams players of 2012.

Special Teams: D
Freshman Daniel Grochowski failed to kick as well as expected. Grochowski had excelled the previous year at USMAPS making all his extra points and missing only one field goal attempt all year despite kicking in some inclement weather conditions. Grochowski surprisingly missed three extra point attempts (24-of-27 PATS) during the season. He made four of his first five attempts including blasting a 46-yard field goal before the end of the half against Boston College. What was surprising was the numbers of duds he hit that never had a chance. Against Rutgers it all came to a head when he killed Army's upset hopes by hitting two line drive field goal attempts that were blocked and had no chance to clear the line of scrimmage. Grochowski was replaced and finished the season hitting 10-of-16 field goal attempts. He wouldn't be the first freshmen to suffer the effects of Beast Barracks on his legs as the season progressed. I believe he will rebound next season.

Senior Eric Osteen was Army's best special teams player. Osteen replaced Grochowski and hit two of three extra points and three of four field goal attempts. His only miss against Navy was probably was affected by a high short snap. Osteen's strong leg gave Army a weapon on kickoffs. He produced 29 touchbacks on his 53 kickoffs.

Senior punter Chris Boldt punted 34 times and averaged 38.1 yards per punt. Boldt was inconsistent at times and would occasionally shank a punt off the side of his foot when asked to directional punt. He usually did a good job in limiting returns as he placed seven punts inside the 20-yard line and had ten punts which were fair caught by returners.

Kick returners Julian Crockett and Stephan Fraser didn't make many plays in the return game. Fraser (20.8 KOR avg.) fumbled a kickoff in the opener. He had a solid return game against Wake Forest and almost broke a kickoff return late in the game for a big gain. Against Boston College Fraser was hit and fumbled and left the game with a hip pointer. He was replaced by junior Julian Crockett who made a nice season long 35-yard return on his first kickoff return. The rest of the season Crockett (19.2 KOR avg.) handled most kickoff returns. He demonstrated some quickness in making the first wave usually miss but lacked a second gear to burst into the clear. Josh Jackson (9.6 PR avg.) handled the punt returns when healthy. Jackson had reliable hands but don't be confused by his return average. Jackson had one excellent 34-yard punt return, against Rutgers where he broke two tackles, that made up the majority of his return yards. Often Jackson failed to field the ball cleanly allowing the Black Knights to lose field position or just fair caught the ball. He lost a fumble against Navy on a punt return. Jackson returned only five punts all season. Jon Crucitti (2.3 PR avg.) filled in when Jackson was injured and wasn't able to make anyone miss him.

The coverage teams allowed a kickoff return for a touchdown in the opener and an eight yard average on eleven punt returns. They were generally solid in this area after the opener but didn't cover as well as they had the previous two years. The long snapper, Andrew Ellerson and Frank Ceva, struggled with their consistency. Ellerson had an awful snap against Rutgers that was over Boldt's head and led to a 1-yard Rutgers touchdown run. The holders A.J. Schurr and Chris Boldt did an excellent job handling wayward snaps all year.

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