Blue and Gold Illustrated

April 2017

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 30 of 63 APRIL 2017 31 5 Touchdowns allowed by Notre Dame on special teams last season, unofficially a school record. It included a kickoff return for a score in the 38-35 loss to Duke and a blocked punt returned by North Carolina State in a 10-3 defeat. 44.01 Yards punting average by Newsome on 109 career attempts at Notre Dame. That puts him barely behind the Notre Dame career standard of 44.1 by Craig Hentrich on 118 career punts from 1989-92. 82.4 Percent of field goals made by Yoon (28 of 34) during his first two years. The school record for those who attempted at least 30 field goals is 82.5 by David Ruffer from 2009-11 (33 of 40). WHO'S GONE Scott Daly The four-year starter (51 games) at long snapper ful- filled his duties from 2013-16 on punts, field goals and extra points. John Chereson The part-time kickoff man in 2016 isn't returning for a fifth season, which is why Notre Dame signed Charlotte, N.C., kicker Jona- than Doerer this February. WHO'S BACK Senior Tyler Newsome He started all 25 games the past two years, with 36 of his 109 career punts, or about 33 per- cent, traveling at least 50 yards. Junior Justin Yoon His foot will be given some rest time this spring after converting 28 of 34 field goals his first two sea- sons, 15 of 17 as a freshman and 13 of 17 last year. Junior C.J. Sanders The electric kick returner already has scored four touchdowns on returns (three kickoffs and one punt), and had a fifth called back on the open- ing kickoff versus Michigan State last year. He is only two behind the school record of six tallied by Tim Brown, Raghib Ismail and Allen Rossum. TOP NEWCOMERS Sophomore John Shannon After redshirting his freshman year the way Daly did in 2012, Shannon, who was signed specif- ically for long snapping duties, will be entrusted with that role the next four seasons from 2017-20. 2017 SPRING FOOTBALL PREVIEW QUOTABLE "I'll be involved in all three phases of the game. I'll be involved in offensive game planning, defensive game planning and special teams, and then I will make myself available to each of the position groups during practice. If I see that there's a need to be in a particular area, I'll spend time in that particular area." — HEAD COACH BRIAN KELLY ON HIS ROLE THIS SPRING NOW THAT HE WON'T CONCENTRATE MAINLY ON OFFENSE AND DOING THE PLAY CALLING. T he Irish special teams are now under the tutelage of former Nevada head coach Brian Polian, who ran the units for the Irish from 2005-09 under former head coach Charlie Weis. Polian is being tasked with improving a unit that at best was inconsistent the previous five seasons and at worst was a significant area of weak- ness. The new special teams boss must first create greater consistency within his unit this spring, and developing a greater sense of pride in being on special teams must be a goal of the coaching staff this spring. Notre Dame not only has big picture spring goals on special teams, it has specific needs as well. Senior punter Tyler Newsome has flashed a major leg during his Notre Dame career, but he has been wildly inconsistent. Heading into his final spring, Newsome has been commended for his leader- ship, but he must now work on limiting the erratic kids and do a better job with placement inside the 20-yard line. Replacing a long and short snapper will never get the kind of publicity of other positions, but it's important for Notre Dame none- theless. Now de- parted snapper Scott Daly was a rock on the Irish special teams, and Notre Dame is counting on rising sophomore John Shannon to provide similar sturdiness as a snapper. Notre Dame junior kicker Justin Yoon is recovering from a leg injury, so he might be limited during the spring. In the return game, Polian must work with prolific return man C.J. Sanders to get him more confident as a punt returner. Sanders has returned three kicks and a punt for scores in the last two seasons, but he has not always been consistent, and neither has the blocking. Getting those units to play with greater consis- tency should give the Irish a top-level return game. Returning Returning Year-End Year Starts TD Scored TD Scored 2016 52 2 2 2017 50 4 — BY THE NUMBERS SPECIALISTS JUSTIN YOON PHOTO BY RICK KIMBALL

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