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August 25, 2010

Special teams can be a strength



At times this summer the temperature hit 140 degrees on the practice fields. That's when Aaron Stamn really got a workout in.

Stamn, the tight ends coach and special teams coordinator, could be seen running from the tight end group over to the special teams.

"Hey Alonso I want to see that punt go more end-over-end," Stamn threw out to his starting punter. "Let's try that one again."

In his first three years with Turner Gill at Buffalo, Stamn handled the same duties. Last year he was the offensive line coach. Doing both jobs isn't anything new to him. It also makes things easier with Alonso Rojas and Jacob Branstetter. Rojas has averaged over 40 yards the last two seasons and Branstetter has been the starting kicker for almost two years.

"Those guys are doing really well," Stamn said. "That's nice for me because they have seen a lot of the scenarios before. They are guys that have been in the fire. They are good players and very consistent which makes my job easy."

The special teams may need to come up big this season. The schedule has several games that are winnable yet Kansas likely won't be a big favorite in any of them. That's when a phase of the game like special teams can make a difference. Stamn and his group aren't taking it lightly.

"We want to try and make plays," he said. "We don't want to look at it like it is just another play. We are trying to make special teams a difference for us. I feel like the players have bought into what we are doing. I think we have some guys we can put into key roles that will play a big part for us."

Tight ends stay involved

When Stamn is getting the special teams gathered you can usually find the tight ends not far behind.

"I try to keep my tight end group involved in the special teams because there are only a certain amount of guys we can take," he said. "I challenge those guys to be versatile in their game so they can be sure to get on the field."

Leading the tight ends is Tim Biere. Over the last two seasons he has played in 23 games averaging 13 yards a catch last year.

"Tim's very solid," Stamn said. "I've been blessed to have to have a guy like him here. He's very consistent and does a lot of good stuff. He just has to keep getting better with what he has to be a force."

The group doesn't drop off after Biere. When the first depth chart was listed A.J. Steward was listed as the starting U-position, which figures to be a big receiver or H-back. Behind him was Ted McNulty and Bradley Dedeaux is backing up Biere.

"It is a good crew and the other guys are coming along," Stamn said. "A.J. has done well and his transition from wide receiver has been really good. He's a very good athlete and I think we're going to have some fun with him. Bradley Dedeuax prepares very hard and is great to be around. I told him he can get on the field and I trust him. Ted McNulty is another guy who works harder tan anybody and preps himself every day."


Other notes:

-Stamn said Daymond Patterson is doing some good things at punt return. They are working with several players at kick returner including D.J. Beshears, Bradley McDougald and Isiah Barfield. The kick return spot could be interesting to watch.

"We have some players back there that can be good but truthfully we are still trying to figure it out," Stamn said. "With our kickoff returns we are going to tailor it to the guy that's handling the football. You have to know who you have because some guys can run it one way and another guy can do it another way. We might have two great ones who have different ways of doing it and based off that we might have two different return types."


- Stamn said expect a lot of bodies to see action on special teams. He said in the past they used several players at Buffalo under Gill.


- Although there are some experienced tight ends the future could be bright with the addition of Jimmay Mundine and Trent Smiley. Smiley was the number one rated tight end in Texas and Mundine has been getting a lot of reps early on.

"They're going to be a lot of fun to coach," Stamn said "They both have a lot of football smarts. What I mean when I say that is we go in and meet, talk about the plays, we got out on the field, and when you ask them a question they know it. We had a scrimmage the other day and they did well. They knew what they were doing."


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