The LSU football team will feature fresh faces on special teams this season.
The Tigers lost First Team All-American kick returner Odell Beckham Jr., to the 2014 NFL Draft and special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey, who is now a coach with the New York Jets. The special teams unit produced five touchdowns in three seasons with McGaughey as coach, including two by Beckham.
Replacing McGaughey as the special teams coordinator is Bradley Dale Peveto, who was on the coaching staff during the Tigers’ national championship season in 2007. Peveto returns to LSU after a four year head coaching stint at Northwestern State.
The punt coverage team looks to continue its dominating performance from last year, when they allowed only 3.3 yards per punt return.
Despite losing Beckham, LSU coach Les Miles is confident that the Tigers punt and kick return team should be as strong as ever.
“We will have the style of returners that LSU will be comfortable with — Jamal Adams, Tre’Davious White to name a few,” Miles said at SEC Media Days in July. “Terrence Magee will return on kickoffs.”
Sophomore kicker Colby Delahoussaye enters the 2014 season after an impressive freshman campaign, during which he made 13 of 14 field goals and 56 of 57 extra points. With inexperienced quarterbacks, more responsibility could be placed on Delahoussaye this season with longer, and possibly more, field goals.
“We’ve always had a good relationship on where I can kick,” Delahoussaye said. “To have confidence from Les Miles, that’s a big deal. It’s one less thing I have to worry about. I just go out there and kick the football.”
Returning at punter is junior Jamie Keehn. The self-titled “Thunder From Down Under” managed 43 punts for an average of 41 yards per punt last season. Of his 43 punts, 18 were downed inside the 20-yard line and 10 were more than 50 yards. Keehn looks to follow his first full season as starter with a more consistent performance in 2014.
“Jamie Keehn is healthy and kicking the ball very hard, great hang time and distance,” Miles said. “The good thing about him is he’s been through this a couple of times now and understands what’s expected of him.”
Third year starter Reid Ferguson will be long snapper for Delahoussaye and Keehn. One of the unsung performers on the team, Ferguson has played every game since his freshman season without a mistake.
Sophomore Trent Domingue will take over at the kickoff spot, replacing James Hairston, who transferred to Rice to pursue more field goal opportunities.
“Trent Domingue has really stepped in and is giving us a great and very competitive leg-very big leg,” Miles said.