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Season In Review: Special teams

Jan 24, 2022

Reviewing Oregon's 2021 season and looking ahead to spring drills.

PK: Camden Lewis, So.; Henry Katleman, So.; Cristiano Palazzo, Fr.
P: Tom Snee, So.; Race Mahlum, Fr.
KO: Camden Lewis, So.; Will Hutchinson, Fr.
LS: Karsten Battles, Jr.; Luke Basso, Fr.; Peyton Yanagi, So.
KOR: Mykael Wright, So.; Kris Hutson, Fr.
PR: Mycah Pittman, So,; Seven McGee, Fr.

Starters: One of the best stories of the 2021 football season for Oregon was Camden Lewis, the placekicker who lost his starting job in 2020 but won it back over the ensuing offseason and was automatic for much of 2021. Lewis was 10-of-10 on field-goal attempts through 10 games; like the rest of the team he struggled in the two losses to Utah, going 1-of-4 in those games. Still, Lewis finished the season 13-of-16, and he tied for the Pac-12 scoring title among kickers with 94 points. Punter Tom Snee was called upon 44 times and averaged 43.1 yards per punt, with nine kicks of 50 or more yards and 18 that pinned the opponent inside its own 20-yard line; he was also the holder on placekicks, working in both cases with automatic long snapper Karsten Battles.

Cornerback Mykael Wright and receiver Kris Hutson were the Ducks' primary kickoff returners, and Mycah Pittman fielded punts until leaving the team late in the season and being replaced by Seven McGee. The most notable return of the season in a UO football game was the punt return for a touchdown allowed just before halftime in the regular-season matchup with Utah, a massive play in the momentum of that game — and the momentum of Oregon's stretch run to the season.

Reserves: After winning the placekicking job in 2020, Henry Katleman spent 2021 pushing Lewis in practice; the Ducks also minimized the wear on Lewis and Snee with help from Cristiano Palazzo, Race Mahlum and Will Hutchinson, as well. Hutchinson took over kickoff duties from Lewis in the Alamo Bowl, and had three touchbacks on five attempts. Luke Basso and Peyton Yanagi were available to spell Battles in practice.


PK: Camden Lewis, Jr.; Cristiano Palazzo, RFr.
P: Tom Snee, Jr.; Race Mahlum, RFr.
KO: Camden Lewis, Jr.; Will Hutchinson, RFr.
LS: Karsten Battles, Sr.; Luke Basso, RFr.
KOR: Kris Hutson, So.; Jeffrey Bassa, So.
PR: Seven McGee, So.; Kris Hutson, So.

What To Watch: The Ducks have solid veterans at the spotlight special teams positions, in Lewis, Snee and Battles. Roster turnover has opened up several spots on the depth chart as returners; a wild card there could be running back Sean Dollars, a shifty runner who could be an asset returning punts and kickoffs. For the team as a whole, coverage will be an area to improve in 2022 — the Ducks finished 2021 ranked eighth in the Pac-12 in kickoff coverage, and 10th in punt coverage.