As the LSU football team prepares for its first game against McNeese State University on Sept. 5, its veteran-filled special teams unit hopes for another successful season in its second year under special teams coordinator Bradley Dale Peveto.
The Tigers return their core group of special teamers, including sophomore running back Leonard Fournette, who earned preseason Third-Team All-Southeastern Conference honors as a return specialist. He handled 24 kickoff returns last season for a total of 625 yards and one touchdown.
Freshman defensive back Donte Jackson, the fastest player on the team with a 4.33 second 40-yard dash, poses a threat to take over punt returns from junior cornerback Tre’Davious White, who handled 25 punt returns for 273 yards and one touchdown last season.
Junior placekicker Colby Delahoussaye returns after starting 12 of 13 games in the 2014 season, converting 34 of 36 extra points and 11 of 15 field goals. His sophomore campaign was highlighted by a 50-yard, game-winning field goal against Florida on Oct. 11 in Gainesville, Florida.
Delahoussaye said fall camp has brought friendly competition across the special teams unit, and the chemistry among them has never been better.
“I’m enjoying training camp,” Delahoussaye said. “The team camaraderie is just getting better and better every day. It’s a brotherhood, without a doubt. We clown around with each other, we help each other out whenever somebody needs to get picked up. I’m just enjoying every single day we’re out here.”
Battling against Delahoussaye for the starting kicker position is junior placekicker Trent Domingue. Domingue, who handled kickoff duties last season, also converted 2-of-4 field goals and was a perfect 6-for-6 on extra points.
“Over the summer, all of the kickers and snappers worked together and got stronger,” Domingue said. “On the days we didn’t work out, we kicked and snapped and really just improved our
mechanics and technique together. Training camp is going well. We’ve all gotten better since the beginning, and we’re still continuing to improve.”
Senior punter Jamie Keehn set a school record last season punting for 3,189 yards. Keehn averaged the third-most yards per punt average in LSU history, 44.9, which earned him Third-Team All-SEC honors. He unleashed a career-high, 64-yard punt in the Tigers’ season opener against Wisconsin last season.
“All phases of special teams have been getting a lot of reps because coach Les Miles really emphasizes on special teams,” Keehn said. “I’m just looking to be consistent. We all saw a few kicks last year that I’d like to have back. It’s not important how big your biggest ball is, it’s how big your smallest ball is.”
Freshman punter Josh Growden offers a new leg to special teams this season as Keehn’s backup. Following fellow punters Brad Wing and Keehn, Growden is the third-straight Australian punter to sign with LSU.
“LSU is a big time football program,” Growden said. “In Australia, it’s one of the main colleges you hear about. I think ever since Brad, they’ve just wanted to keep with the Australian punters. So I’m just grateful for them doing a good job and the coaches having trust in me.”
Senior long snapper Reid Ferguson is slated to start in his fourth consecutive season after missing one snap in his first three seasons. The Tigers have also added his brother, freshman long snapper Blake Ferguson, who is the only two-time recipient of the Chris Rubio Award and was ranked as the No. 1 long snapper prospect in the nation.