The competition is tight for OU's starting placekicker and punter positions.
|SoonerSports.com provides a position-by-position preview of the 2009 OU football team. This concludes our weeklong breakdown of each of the eight major position areas:
Jimmy Stevens handled the placements last season and returns in 2009, but he will be pushed by redshirt freshman Tress Way and freshman walk-on Bryce Easley.
Mike Knall wrapped up his second and final full year as the team's punter last season so the job is open. Way and junior wideout Cameron Kenney have been locked in a tight battle for the starting position throughout August.
With the end of Juaquin Iglesias' career so ends the exploits of one of the school's great returners. He finished with more kickoff return yards than anyone in OU history.
Still, there are a number of very qualified returners. DeMarco Murray has proved dynamic in the role and Chris Brown has been used some, too. It's safe to assume that other candidates will be reviewed as well, and if history serves as a guide, Oklahoma will have a fast and elusive tandem doing the work.
At punt returner, Ryan Broyles and Dominique Franks, who combined for 30 of the Sooners' 32 punt returns last season, are back. Broyles will likely get the bulk of the assignment.
Three players handled the duties last year and all three are back. Derek Shaw is the most experienced, but Ben Hampton, who has been used primarily on placements, and James Winchester also have experience.
Carter Whitson returns after filling the role admirably last season. The wide receiver was sure-handed and remains athletic enough to provide options.