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Aug 19, 2017
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  Football Preview: Special Teams

Auburn's 2015 campaign was anything but consistent. On the offensive side, struggles at the quarterback position saw a new starter under center week to week and the defense didn't live up to the hype after high expectations. One thing that was always reliable throughout the season was special teams.

In each of his three seasons as head coach at Auburn, Gus Malzahn's squads have been outstanding on special teams, especially the kicking game.

Daniel Carlson returns for his junior year after a very successful 2015 season. He was one of three finalist for the Lou Groza Award, a unanimous first team All-Southeastern Conference selection and one of three kickers in FBS with four FG of 50+ yards.

Carlson set an Auburn record by nailing 16 consecutive field goals and his four 50+ yard field goals made in a season was also a school record. Carlson was 23 for 27 on field goals and ranked fifth nationally in touchback percentage (71.01 percent) on kickoffs.

Also back after a solid 2015 season is punter Kevin Phillips. As a junior, Phillips averaged 41 yards per punt, which ranked seventh in the SEC and 69th nationally and helped to hold opponents to just seven punt returns tied for third-fewest in the country last season.

Auburn's return game was a work in progress a year ago as the unit failed to record a punt return or kick return for a touchdown for the first time since 2007. The Tigers averaged 27.94 yards per game on kick returns and 11.93 yards per punt return.

With the departure of Blake Countess, Rudy Ford and Kerryon Johnson will handle the kick return duties in the fall. Last fall, Ford was second in the SEC with a 28.73 yard average on his kick returns and Johnson had 27.6 yards per return.

Marcus Davis is set to be the main punt returner after ranking fifth in the SEC in punt returns with 11.53 yards per return last season. His season-high six returns for 88 yards helped Auburn defeat Memphis 31-10 in the Birmingham Bowl.

Phil Marion

Newcomers

Quarterbacks and Receivers

Running Backs and Offensive Line

Defensive Line

Linebackers

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