Missouri Football: Previewing the Tigers’ special teams

COLUMBIA, MO - SEPTEMBER 24: Place kicker Tucker McCann
COLUMBIA, MO - SEPTEMBER 24: Place kicker Tucker McCann /

Entering the offseason, Missouri’s biggest bug to work out on special teams was missed opportunities to put points up in the kicking game.

Missouri returns a fan favorite on special teams, punter Cory Fatoney. Last year, Fatoney was one of the best punters in the SEC, and at times, Mizzou’s MVP.

This year, the Tigers look to be improved on offense, so hopefully Fatoney’s number will be called a little less, but it’s comforting to know that one of the best in the business plays for Mizzou.

Going into spring camp, there was some competition among Turner Adams, Ben Tesson and Tucker McCann, to decide who would assume the kicking role. At the very least, the idea was to give McCann some competition, because of all the players on special teams, his role was the least certain.

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According to the Tigers’ first depth chart release, McCann is the team’s place kicker against Missouri State. For all intents and purposes, he should be good against the Bears. Barring a complete meltdown, I don’t see him losing the job.

Last year, McCann was 50% on field goals, going 6 for 12. The sophomore kicker has a strong leg, as he sent 42 of his 64 kickoffs for touchbacks, which cut down on any potential scoring returns for Missouri’s opponents. Hopefully, McCann has settled into the role in his second year.

For the Tigers’ return game, it looks like second year receiver Johnathon Johnson is the man for the job. In 2016, he made the hat trick with the Tigers’ longest rush, catch, and kickoff and punt return of the season (actually, a little more than a hat trick).

Next: Previewing Mizzou's receivers

Johnson is a versatile weapon for Missouri on both offense and special teams, so it will be intriguing to see how the season plays out for him, as well.