MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The special teams units were the heavy focus of Wednesday’s Alabama State football afternoon practice at Hornet Stadium.

Nearly half of the practice was devoted to special teams, an often overlooked, yet highly important aspect of football, as individual drills in both kick/punt returns and kick/punt coverage were emphasized.

“We’re trying to break down special teams where these guys understand each integral part of it,” head coach Reggie Barlow said. “It’s important, and we’re teaching it, making sure they understand what we are looking for and what we need. They’re getting it, so we want to make sure we continue to focus on it.”

Alabama State will again have a tremendous weapon in the do-it-all package of Bobby Wenzig, who is a triple threat with his ability to kick field goals/PATs, punt, and kickoff. He led the Hornets in scoring last season with 76 points, converting 31-35 PATs and 15-25 field goal attempts. Wenzig also averaged 41.5 yards on 70 punts, with 17 of them at least 50 yards in length, and averaged more than 62 yards on kickoffs.

“Bobby is a true weapon,” Barlow said. “We want his teammates to know how important the special teams units are because he knows how important it is and it means a lot to him. We also dedicate time for the returners and holders to work on technique. With the kickoffs moving up to the 35-yard line this season, it will allow Bobby to have a lot of touchbacks this year. On his field goals and punts, we want him to be steady and consistent, and he has the ability to do it.”

In addition to being one of the top defensive players in the country, FS Kejuan Riley averaged more than eight yards per punt return and nearly 25 yards per kickoff return in a limited role. He, along with Saeed Lee, Jarrett Neely and Myles Everett will look to flip field position in the return game this season.

“Those guys have shown they can really catch the ball and have demonstrated great ability to get the ball upfield,” Barlow said. “We just want them to continue to work and get better at it.”

The Hornets return to practice at 8 p.m. tonight.


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