LUBBOCK, Texas — Texas Tech’s special teams unit really struggled in some areas last year, and special teams coordinator Mark Tommerdahl is not afraid to admit it.
“We all know that special teams cost us games last year. And if the six of us know that, they sure as heck know that in our team meeting room. It’s been pretty clear-cut how important special teams are.”
There were several issues with the special teams last year, from poor punt protection, to kicker Trey Wolff getting benched after missing four of his five field goals, to a subpar return game.
But one aspect of the special teams unit that thrived was two-time All-Big 12 selection, punter Austin McNamara. His average punt last year went 46.3 yards, which was boosted by an 87-yard bomb against West Virginia. Punter may not be the flashiest position to have a star at, but McNamara is among the best in college football at flipping the field.
It’ll likely be Wolff battling Jonathan Garibay for the starting kicker job. Wolff was excellent as a freshman in 2019 before getting benched for Garibay last season. Garibay made 8-11 field goals, including a game-winner against Baylor.
Texas Tech was outgained in both punt and kickoff returns in 2020, and the team would benefit from having an explosive returner back there who could break off some big plays. One player who could do that is Myles Price, who showed as a freshman that he’s dangerous with the ball in his hands.
Price had three kick returns for 59 total yards last season. Chux Nwabuko, Adrian Frye and Chadarius Townsend all figure to be involved in the return game as well.
Texas Tech has to improve around the margins to get back to bowl eligibility, and a refined special teams unit would be a great place to start.