Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Dawson looks to score huge returns from special teams units Check out the other spring football previews!
Position Coach: Mike Dawson (Special Teams Coordinator)
Breakdown By Class
Seniors: 2
Juniors: 3
Sophomores: 5
Redshirt Freshmen: 3
Freshmen: 6
Sami Khawja
Wan’Dale Robinson
Projected Starters:
Place Kicker – Connor Culp
Punter – Daniel Cerni/William Przystup
Long Snapper (Kicking) – Cameron Pieper
Long Snapper (Punting) – Cade Mueller
Kickoffs – Connor Culp
Kick Returner – Alante Brown
Punt Returner – Cam Taylor-Britt
Holder – Tyler Crawford
In an attempt to improve Nebraska’s struggling special teams play, head coach Scott Frost has decided to replace former Senior Special Teams Analyst Jonathan Rutledge with current Cornhusker outside linebackers coach Mike Dawson. Of course, Dawson, who once was the Special Teams Coordinator at Boston College, won’t go it alone this fall. Other Nebraska assistant coaches will be expected to dig in and get their hands dirty on special teams.
Dawson and company will have their work cut out for them too – especially when it comes to kickoff return defense (22.64 yards per attempt), kickoff returns (18.27 yards per attempt) and punt return defense (12.17 yards per attempt). Nebraska ranked 87th, 96th and 105th nationally in those three categories last fall.
But it wasn’t all bad for the Cornhusker special teams units a year ago. Nebraska ranked 14th nationally after averaging 13.33 yards per punt return and LSU transfer Connor Culp (5-10, 190, Sr.) brought some much needed consistency to the kicking game after Frost had to call on six different place kickers in 2019.
Culp, who was named the Big Ten’s 2020 Baaken-Andersen Kicker of the Year, gives Nebraska another much needed weapon on the scoreboard after he made 13 of 15 field goals and all 20 extra point kicks a year ago. A huge turnaround from Nebraska’s 12 of 20 field goal effort in 2019. The Phoenix native also averaged 56 yards on 40 kickoffs with 12 touchbacks.
Battling for backup duties will be Chase Contreraz (6-1, 180, So.), Tyler Crawford (5-10, 175, Fr.), Gabe Heins (6-0, 185, R-Fr.), Ryan Novosel (6-0, 160, Fr.) and Ord, Nebraska’s Kelen Meyer (6-3, 190, Fr.) who booted a 58-yard field goal as a high school senior, tying the Chanticleer for the second longest field goal in Nebraska prep history.
Will Przystup (6-4, 250, So.) returns after handling most of the punting duties a year ago. Averaging 41.29 yards on 24 punts, Przystup placed seven boots inside the 20-yard line and drilled five punts of 50 yards or longer. Prokick Australia product Daniel Cerni (6-4, 220, Fr.) is set to push and probably surpass Przystup after recovering from a season-ending injury a year ago. Grant Detlefsen (6-3, 210, R-Fr.) is ready to step in for Frost and Dawson should he be called on.
Since joining the B1G in 2011, Nebraska has had four different returners score on punt returns, kick returns, or both. JD Spielman was the last to do it when he took a punt 76 yards to the house against South Alabama in 2019. Spielman also scored on a 77-yard punt return against Bethune Cookman in 2018 and a 99-yard kick return versus Arkansas State in 2017.
Nebraska, however, has not returned a kick or punt for a score against a Power 5 opponent since De’Mornay Pierson-El scampered to pay dirt on punt returns of 62 and 80 yards against Michigan State and Iowa respectively in 2014. The Nebraska coaching staff hopes to find the athletes with the ability to join Ameer Abdullah, Kenny Bell, Pierson-El and Spielman as scoring threats in the return game next fall.
Senior Cam Taylor-Britt (6-0, 205, Jr.) is set to take a crack at stifling Nebraska’s scoring dry spell in the punt return game. A year ago, he reeled in six of Nebraska’s nine punt returns and averaged 13.17 yards per return to help guide Nebraska to its Top 15 national ranking. Receiver Levi Falck (6-2, 205, Sr.) returns after racing 39 yards with his only punt return while Oliver Martin (6-1, 200, Jr.) gained seven yards on one return a year ago.
Alante Brown (5-11, 190, Fr.) is ready to shake and bake in the kick return game after leading Nebraska with 196 yards on 10 returns last fall. Rahmir Johnson (5-10, 185, R-Fr.) and Brody Belt (5-8, 185, So.) should get their share of kick return touches after returning five kicks between them a year ago.
Cameron Pieper (6-3, 250, So.) and Cade Mueller (6-0, 215, So.) return to handle the punt and kick long snapping duties respectively while Brig Banks (6-3, 245, Jr.) and Camden Witucki (6-3, 220, Fr.) are working hard in preparation for their opportunity to get out on the field.

Source: Corn Nation