SE: Special Teams Return Special Players

Sean Snyder is in his second season as the special teams coordinator and his 18th overall at K-State

Aug. 24, 2012

Editor’s Note: K-State Sports Extra continues its nine-part look at the 2012 Wildcats with each assistant coach taking an in-depth look at his respective position. Past articles include the quarterbacks, defensive ends, interior defensive line, offensive line, linebackers, running backs/tight ends and secondary. Today’s article highlights the special teams units with associate head coach Sean Snyder.

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By Mark Janssen

History tells us when Kansas State’s special teams are really good, then the Wildcats have a pretty good chance to be really good.

Well, there’s every reason to believe that K-State’s specialists in 2012 should be really good as there are returning starters at every position.

RETURNING is kicker Anthony Cantele, who was true on 48-of-49 extra points last year, plus he connected on 17-of-23 field goals with a long of 54 yards. On kickoffs, he averaged 62 yards, which included 14 touchbacks.

“Anthony is a very, very good kicker. We expect an awful lot from him,” said associate head coach/special teams coordinator Sean Snyder. “He’s very good at scoring, and he’s very good with his kickoffs. He has the capabilities to put it in the end zone, and that’s what you need from your kickoff unit.”

Backing the K-State senior kicker will be his younger brother, Jack, a redshirt freshman, plus senior Brandon Klimek and redshirt freshman Dillon Wilson.

RETURNING is punter Ryan Doerr, who averaged 40.8 yards last year with 14 boots downed inside the 20-yard-line and 32 fair catches when he was a candidate for the Ray Guy Award.

“Ryan has the capabilities to be an NFL guy,” said Snyder. “He has the ability to make all the kicks that we ask him to do, but he just has to have another year when he does it again.”

Doerr enters the season sixth in school history in yards and eighth in career average at 41.1.

Mark Krause, a redshirt-sophomore, will enter the season as the No. 2 punter.

RETURNING is long snapper Marcus Heit, a 6-foot-2, 238-pound junior, who was true on all 128 of his punt/field goal/extra point snaps a year ago, but he will be pressed by sophomore Dalton Converse, who snapped in the Cotton Bowl.

RETURNING are co-punt returners Tramaine Thompson, a 5-foot-7, 167-pound junior, and Tyler Lockett, a 5-foot-11, 175-pound sophomore.

“They’re two completely different runners,” said Snyder. “Tramaine is quick, shifty and bounces around, so he is hard to tackle. He’s a step slower than Tyler, but he can run.”

Last year, Thompson averaged 12.3 yards on 10 returns, while Lockett averaged 6.3 yards on six returns.

RETURNING are co-kickoff return specialists in Lockett and Thompson, who averaged 35.2 yards and 19.3 yards, respectively, last year with two of Lockett’s take-backs going for touchdowns.

Lockett’s average set a K-State record, while his touchdown returns against Texas Tech (100 yards) and Kansas (97 yards) came in consecutive games, which was a first in Wildcat history.

For his heroics, Lockett was a First Team Walter Camp All-American, the Big 12’s Offensive Freshman of the Year, while he received votes for Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year honors.

“First, he’s very good, but second, he’s very eager to learn,” Snyder said of Lockett, who owns sub-4.4 time in the 40-yard-dash. “He’s very fast, has the ability to redirect his direction, and he’s just a try-hard kid who want to excel. No one works harder or gives a greater effort.”

Of the two return positions, Snyder said, “With kickoff returns, you have time to get set, catch the ball and decide on a direction. With the punt return, you need a quicker vision and need the ability to make that first guy miss you.”

• Kickoffs in 2012 will be done from the 35-yard line instead of the 30, and touchbacks will be spotted at the 25-yard line instead of the 20-yard line
Anthony Cantele started his collegiate career at Missouri State as a soccer player. Cantele was the 2008 Kansas State Soccer Player of the Year.
• During his career at Kapuan Mt. Carmel High School in Wichita, Cantele was true on 145-of-147 extra points
• Doerr, a transfer from South Carolina, has graduated from K-State with a degree in economics
• Lockett is a Preseason All-American and ranked as the eighth-best all-purpose player in the country by Lindy’s

• Serves as associate head coach, director of football operations and special teams coordinator
• After punting for the Wildcats in 1991-92 and being the team’s special teams MVP both seasons, this is Snyder’s 18th season on the K-State staff
• Snyder set the K-State single-season average record of 44.65 yards in 1992, while his career average record of 42.96 was topped by James Garcia (43.18; 1995-98)
• Signed as a free agent with the Phoenix Cardinals in 1993 and the San Diego Chargers in 1994
• Has been on the staff for 12 K-State bowl games, plus as a punter while at Iowa in 1988
• Snyder’s son, Tate, is a linebacker on the football team, and his father, Bill, is the head coach

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