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USF specialist jobs up for grabs

Posted Aug 11, 2011 by Adam Adkins

Updated Aug 12, 2011 at 01:11 AM

VERO BEACH USF coach Skip Holtz talked a little bit about his special teams units after Wednesday night’s practice, saying each of the kicking specialist jobs remain open.

“I can’t look you in the eye and tell you that anybody has nailed down any of the special teams responsibilities,” he said.

Two of the jobs where the coach said competition is ongoing didn’t come as much of a surprise. The Bulls lost their 2010 kickoff specialist, Eric Schwartz, to graduation and needed to find a replacement, while redshirt freshman Chris Veron came out of spring practice ahead on the depth chart of last year’s starting punter, junior Justin Brockhaus-Kann, and the competition figured to be decided in camp.

The same can’t be said at placekicker, where junior Maikon Bonani put together the most accurate season in program history last year by making 17 of 21 attempts and seemed to have a firm grasp on the job.

Bonani, named to the Groza Award watch list for 2011, has “had a couple up-and-down days” in Vero Beach according to Holtz, who did add Bonani’s track record on game day does carry some weight, as does a fact from last season he seemed to have overlooked at one point.

“Somebody reminded me Bonani got out-kicked at camp last year, too, and then went in and did what he did during the course of the season,” Holtz said. “So that’s one thing he definitely has in his favor.”

Holtz said redshirt freshman Marvin Kloss, who the coach said has been kicking well, and true freshman walk-on Mattias Ciabatti are in the competition with Bonani. That trio along with Veron are in the mix for the kickoff job.

As for punter, Holtz hasn’t been pleased with Veron or Brockhaus-Kann to this point, and said a third player has now joined the competition there.

“I don’t think either one of them is kicking at the level they need to punt at in order for us to be the type of team we want to be,” he said. “We’re not punting the ball consistently enough, and Mattias Ciabatti is getting into that mix. He’s getting into that mix with what he’s doing and the numbers he’s putting up.”

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