Position breakdown: Special teams

Each day over the last week, NittanyNation has taken a look at a different position and broken it down. Today it's special teams.

Special teams will have a completely different look this year. The departure of do-it-all Anthony Fera (Texas) opens two starting positions now -- punter and kicker. Sam Ficken will have to navigate his new spot as starting kicker, while Alex Butterworth will have to step up as the punter.

Kick returner isn't so clear-cut. Now that Justin Brown is at Oklahoma, coach Bill O'Brien needs to find someone new. Bill Belton might have been the obvious pick before, but with the defection of top tailback Silas Redd, O'Brien might not risk injury to Belton.

The kick returner is anyone's guess, but Alex Kenney definitely has the speed to impress.


  • Ficken has a powerful leg and has the ability to hit 50-yarders.

  • Lots of options for returner here.

  • Butterworth shows good hangtime and could have a net average that's in line with other Big Ten punters.