Special teams set to help HU reach new heights

The Hampton University Pirates will take a short road trip to the Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium Saturday to take on the Old Dominion Monarchs, in hopes of avenging last years 28-14 defeat.

In a press conference held earlier today on campus, Coach Donovan Rose spoke on his teams chances of  tying the series at 1-1. According to Rose, the Pirates revamped special teams unit will help them do just that.

” We feel real good. Last year we had the chance to play them  and special teams was a big part of it,” he said. “In that game before you could sit down and eat your popcorn it was 14-0 and they had blocked two punts so that was a big thing and we did something about that. I went out and hired a new special teams co-coordinator and went and brought in a full-time snapper, so we’ve strengthened our team in that department.”

The snapper he is referring to is Dylan Kerns, a redshirt freshman from Palm Beach, Fl. Kerns was attending community college and working at a local club in Florida when he received the call to come and play for HU.

” I got the phone call and I was shocked,” he said. “I didn’t believe it at first . I found out it was real and I took it.

Rose said that Kerns situation is the first he’s seen in his 21 years of coaching.

“We’ve never had a full scholarship for a snapper, he said.  “Most of them at best would get half and sometimes we’d get guys and convert them into one.”

Special teams coordinator Michael Villagrana is another part of the special teams puzzle set to help the Pirates improve from last year’s 6-5 record.Villagrana said he’s been trying to get the Pirates to understand the importance of special teams.

” I wanted the guys to see how important special teams is, being that it’s 1/3 of the game,” he said.  “And how many games are actually won or lost because of special teams, I think it’s like 78%. I showed them a clip of all of our games from last year and the special teams’ blunders pretty much and what our record was last season and what it could’ve been had we been sharp on special teams.

Rose thinks Saturday’s game will be a true test of whether or not the changes have paid off.

“I think special teams will be big in this game, and with the emergence of ours coming up to par I think it’ll be a great game.”


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