2011 BC football breakdown, Part XXII: Kicker, long snapper, and holder


Finally, we’re onto special teams. If your team needs three points at the end of the game to tie or win, these guys are the most important. At the kicker position in particular, we have a player there now who, in his brief Boston College career to this point, manages to keep getting himself noticed nationally.

Nate Freese | 85 | Sophomore

Boston College’s offense couldn’t find the end zone last year, so Freese was called upon frequently to boot field goals. He became the Eagles’ kicker as a redshirt-freshman last year following the departure of former walk-on Steve Aponavicius and has done a very good job so far. He was eighth out of all the kickers in FBS in 2010 with twenty-two field goals made, missing only three of his attempts. Freese also made all but one of his twenty-five extra-point attempts, giving him 90 points (which led the team). His longest FG make of the year was from 49 yards, though he missed his other two 40+ attempts. Within 40 yards, however, he was very nearly a sure thing, making 21 of those 22. Freese’s play last season got him on the Lou Groza Award Preseason Watch List, and got him named onto the freshman all-America team.

Alex Howell | 42 | Freshman

This South Carolinian joins Boston College as the lone kicker of their 2011 recruiting class. In his YouTube video, he made a 50-yard attempt from the right hash and appears, from what very little I saw, to have decent accuracy. With sophomore Freese taking up this spot, however, it would be foolish not to redshirt him.

The second-string backup kicker is punter Ryan Quigley, who will be featured in Part XXIII. This would seem to indicate that we will not see Howell this year, barring an emergency.

Sean Flaherty | 57 | Junior
Long snapper

On last year’s depth chart, Flaherty was the top long snapper, and defensive superman and future rich NFL big shot Luke Kuechly was #2. Kuechly no longer appears on the depth chart at this position, however, and this remains Flaherty’s main function on the team. Last year, he appeared in all thirteen games and also played coverage on special teams, recording several tackles over the course of the season.

The backup long snapper is center Mark Spinney.

Gerald Levano | 43 | Junior

Levano is listed as a punter, which has him as the second-stringer behind tomorrow’s featured player, Ryan Quigley. Since he doesn’t get to punt much, however, his primary function on the Eagles is to be the holder. Most of Boston College’s kick attempts went off without a hitch last year, so all three guys as part of that equation must be doing something right. Of interest: in high school, he was 3-of-3 on fake-punt pass attempts; too bad we don’t know what he can do on fake field goal attempts.

The backup holder is punter Ryan Quigley.

If the Eagles offense has another off year, this group of players will be getting a lot of work on the field goal unit. I’d like to think, however, that things are looking up. If that’s the case, then hopefully we’ll see these guys on the field many times throughout the course of the 2011 season – on XP attempts.

Nate Freese showed us last year that he has what it takes to be a solid kicker for the Eagles for all four years. While his freshman year was solid, however, now he has to avoid the sophomore jinx (or is that just in baseball?)