Preseason position reviews: punter

After years of being a decided strength, punter might be the most questionable position in the Pac-12 this fall.

Just five teams welcome back their starting punter, and a couple of those jobs aren't secure.

So how do things stack up?


Colorado: The Buffs top the list! Darragh O'Neill is the leading returning punter after averaging 43.5 yards per punt in 2012.

Oregon State: While Keith Kostol's per punt average was middling -- 41.9 yards -- he dropped 24 of his 59 punts inside the 20-yard line.


Washington State: Michael Bowlin averaged 41.9 yards per boot last year with 14 of 58 punts going over 50 yards.

California: Cole Leininger averaged 40 yards per kick as a freshman.


Washington: Travis Coons ranked last in the Pac-12 with 39.8 yards per punt, and it's likely he will concentrate on his kicking competition with Cameron Van Winkle. Korey Durkee or Colorado transfer Zach Grossnickle will compete for the punting duties.

Stanford: Junior Ben Rhyne and redshirt freshman Contrad Ukropina are competing for the job. Rhyne punted nine times last year, averaging 41.1 yards per kick.

Utah: Tom Hackett averaged 38.9 yards on 25 punts last year filling in for Sean Sellwood.

UCLA: Jeff Locke was one of the nation's best punters throughout his UCLA career, which is why he was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings. The hope is touted freshman Sean Covington immediately steps into a strong punting tradition.

USC: Sophomore Kris Albarado is the favorite to win the job after the departure of Kyle Negrete.

Oregon: Jackson Rice, one of the nation's best punters the past couple of years, needs to be replaced. JC transfer Dylan Ausherman is competing with senior Alejandro Maldonado and true freshman Matt Wogan for the job.

Arizona State: Freshman Matt Haack is expected to replace Josh Hubner, a 2012 Ray Guy semifinalist who led the conference with 47.1 yards per boot. A rugby-style punter, Haack also is a good enough athlete to see action at receiver.

Arizona: Sophomore walkon Drew Riggleman will compete with freshman walkon Bret Miller to replace Kyle Dugandzic.

You can see previous previews here:


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