USU football position previews: Special teams

<em>This is the seventh in a series previewing the 2017 Utah State football team’s position groups. The others can be found at the following links: <a href=”http://www.cachevalleydaily.com/sports/article_f215fc18-8c3b-11e7-a48c-cb6d7fa2fe09.html” target=”_blank”>Defensive line</a>, <a href=”http://www.cachevalleydaily.com/sports/article_30eb12c6-8786-11e7-aa63-0f091dd2d683.html” target=”_blank”>Offensive line</a>, <a href=”http://www.cachevalleydaily.com/sports/article_9393f23a-884e-11e7-857a-c7dae436ad41.html” target=”_blank”>Defensive backs</a>, <a href=”http://www.cachevalleydaily.com/sports/article_644a94d2-8913-11e7-9a22-9fcb1ade0158.html” target=”_blank”>Quarterbacks</a>, <a href=”http://www.cachevalleydaily.com/sports/usu/article_a8a3a886-89e4-11e7-87bc-c7c82ea54a82.html” target=”_blank”>Wide receivers</a>, <a href=”http://www.cachevalleydaily.com/sports/article_e740e3a0-8922-11e7-8ada-e310f0f3d2fb.html” target=”_blank”>Running backs</a>.</em>

LOGAN – Less than two weeks ago, Dominik Eberle and Michael Smith each got their turns at attempting a 59-yard field goal. It was during the fall camp’s only public scrimmage, and both were looking to earn the spot of Utah State starting kicker.

Both field goals missed, but head coach Matt Wells took the blame.

“That was on me,” he said. “I wouldn’t have put them in that situation but I wanted to see them kick it.”

Eberle and Smith each ended up making their field goals that day, including a pair of 49-yarders. It was similar to what Wells saw in an earlier, closed-to-the-public scrimmage.

“Our kickers made seven field goals of 46 yards or more,” he said. “Two 53 yarders.”

When the depth chart was released earlier this week, Eberle was listed as the starting kicker for kickoffs and field goals. He is only a sophomore, but was 3-of-5 on field goal attempts during his 2016 freshman season, including a long of 43 yards. Smith, a freshman, will back up at both responsibilities.

Mark Tommerdhal called junior Aaron Dalton a “clear cut punter” in a USU release. Dalton has punted in all 25 games the past two seasons, averaging 39.7 yards. Tommerdahl said the backup is sophomore Zach Lee.

“Lee has had a really good fall camp,” he said. “We’re solid at deep snapper, so, so far, so good. We’re not ready to play tomorrow, but we don’t have to, and things are progressing.”

Junior quarterback DJ Nelson will be holder, a responsibility he has had since his freshman year. Last year’s long snapper Emmett Odegard will be back for his senior year.

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