Special Teams to Be 'Special'

Ace kicker Brooks Rossman is gone, and so is return man Deon Murphy, but once again, Kansas State expects heroics in the area of special teams. It's a constant with teams coached by Bill Snyder.

Think of Bill Snyder-coached baseball teams and one thinks of excellence in the area of special teams play. Led by the electric returns of Brandon Banks, there is no reason to think that will change in 2009.

The Big 12's Offensive newcomer of the Year averaged 27.7 yards per kickoff return last year, which included a 98-yard take-back against Nebraska. This year, Banks will also get more of an opportunity with punt returns, which is an area where he averaged 11.6-yards on five opportunities.

"I hope so," said Banks of his new duties of returning punts. "I like the ball in my hands. I like the opportunity to make plays." In the area of returning kicks/punts, Snyder also mentioned the names of Daniel Thomas, Tramaine Thompson, John Hubert, Lamark Brown, Tysyn Hartman and Joshua Moore.

Filling the role of Brooks Rossman from last year will be junior Josh Cherry, who had 19 kickoffs in 2007 and two more last year.

Ryan Doerr, a transfer last year from South Carolina, has won the punting job over George Pierson and DJ Fulhage.

As a senior at Texas' Katy High School, Doerr averaged 42.7 yards per punt for his 16-0 team.

Not to be forgotten are these special team facts:
* No team in the nation had more blocked kicks than K-State in 2008.
* K-State has the fifth-most blocks in the nation since 2002 with 33.
* Dating back to 1996, the Wildcats have 49 blocks, which is second among Big 12 schools.
* Since 1999, the Wildcats are second nationally in non-offensive touchdowns with 68.
* Returnee Courtney Herndon played a major role in five of the Wildcats' eight non-offensive scores last season. Herndon either blocked or returned three of K-State's four blocked punts that went for touchdowns and also scored both of the Wildcats' defensive touchdowns in 2008.

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