GoMids.com continues its review of the 2012 8-5 Navy Midshipmen's season, position-by-position.…
2012 Navy Report Card: Special Teams
Special Teams: A
Navy's plebe kicker Nick Sloan beat out five other kickers in preseason camp to earn the job as the kicker on field goals and PATs. Sloan finished his plebe regular season hitting 10-for-15 on field goals and was perfect on extra-points. Sloan was the first freshman kicker to start for Navy since 1996. He hit the freshman wall a little bit in the second half of the season. After being perfect in the first half of the year, he hit on only three of his last eight field goals attempts. While Sloan's had the exact same field goal percentage as Jon Teague in 2011, his kicking never cost the Mids a game. In fact in a close game against Indiana and both service academy games he was perfect. Sloan was a godsend to his team after the kicking struggles the Mids had during 2011, last years spring practice and with the uncertainty this summer over who would emerge. Sloan earned All-East honors.
Sophomore punter Pablo Beltran had a great year. Last year he didn't kick as well or as consistently as he did when I saw him at NAPS in 2011. This year he averaged 43.6 yards on his 44 punts. It was the third-best single-season average in school history. Pablo opened the year with a career long 63-yard punt against Notre Dame in the opener. He nailed 11 punts more than fifty yards this year. Beltran was named the FBS Independent Special Teams Player of the Week after punting five times for a 49.2 yard average against San Jose State. Beltran earned All-East honors for his efforts.
Marcus Thomas has averaged 23.0 yards on kickoff returns. He earned honorable mention All-Independent kick returner honors. Ryan Williams demonstrated his speed and quickness at times on kick off returns as he averaged 22.3 yards on ten kickoff returns. Gee Gee Greene showed what may have been when given the chance to return kickoffs in the final game of his career. Greene had a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl against Arizona State.
Shawn Lynch averaged 9.4 yards on punt returns after Aiken was hurt in summer camp. Colin Amerau did a solid job as kickoff specialist. He finished the season with a 60.7 kickoff average with 19 touchbacks of his 63 kickoffs. The Mids struggled at times covering the few punts (12 punts) that were returned. A number of the long returns were a result of Beltran out kicking his coverage. Navy's coverage teams were generally were solid on kick off coverage.
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