Regular-season report card: Special teams

The regular season is over, which means grades are due. Here's part eight of the ongoing regular-season report card for Stanford.


Grade: B

Summary: All in all, a very respectable year. Jordan Williamson turned out to be quite the pleasant surprise, converting 12-of-15 field goal attempts. He was 4-for-4 inside 30 yards, 6-for-7 inside 40 yards and 2-for-4 of 40-plus yards -- including a season-long 45 yarder. He made his first seven in a row, but missed a pair of PATs (49-of-51 on the year).

He was solid on kickoffs and seemed to improve as the season progressed before finally averaging 66.3 yards per kick with eight touchbacks.

Punter David Green was called upon just 32 times this season and averaged 41.7 yards per kick, inducing 11 fair catches and 11 kicks inside of the 20.

Ty Montgomery was fantastic on special teams -- both returning kicks and making plays in kick coverage. His average of 25.28 put him in the nation's top 35 players. He had the lone touchdown -- returning the final kickoff against Washington State 96 yards for a score as time expired.

Drew Terrell was even better in punt returns -- ranking 14th nationally with an average of 11.8 yards per return.

Play of the year goes to Max Bergen for his blocked field goal attempt against Colorado. He got the trifecta: blocked the kick, recovered the ball and then went 75 yards for the score. Something about Stanford's field goal defense; opponents converted just 7-of-18 percent against them.

On average opposing teams returned kickoffs 20.8 yards and punts 6.2 yards. More importantly, the coverage team never yielded any touchdowns.

Not a knock-your-socks off season for the special teams units, but certainly a solid year. Players like Jarek Lancaster and A.J. Tarpley cut their teeth on special teams units and are now significant contributors.

Backups: When Williamson went down, Eric Whitaker filled in admirably, converting 4-of-5 field goal attempts -- including a pair of critical field goals in the triple-overtime win at USC. He struggled with his kickoffs, placing three of 16 attempts out of bounds, so Ben Rhyne stepped in and kicked off 18 times for a 59.8 average. Even with Williamson healthy at the end of the year, Rhyne retained kick-off duties.

Daniel Zychlinski also provided three punts (average of 31.3 yards), one of which landed inside the 20, when Green missed time.