Arizona’s special teams are in ‘great shape’

Jul 17, 2015, 1:01 PM | Updated: 1:02 pm

Offense sells tickets. Defense wins championships.

But, what about special teams?

Well, they’re just as important, according to David Lombardi of’s Pac-12 blog.

Lombardi said that the Arizona Wildcats are in “great shape” entering the 2015 season in his position group breakdown of the Pac-12.

The Wildcats turned in solid punt return and kick coverage ranks in 2014, and they should only be expected to improve performance in those facets as their roster matures and deepens. One should never underestimate the value of a dependable punt returner, and Arizona has just that in veteran DaVonte’ Neal.

Rich Rodriguez’s club should also benefit from featuring a kicker who’s been through fire. Remember Casey Skowron’s nightmare against USC last year (a miss at the final gun) and his subsequent redemption against Washington. That recovery bodes well for the Wildcats, who also return all-conference punter Drew Riggleman.

Arizona averaged 21.5 yards per kickoff return and scored a touchdown and 10.2 yards per punt return with one touchdown during the 2014 season.

Senior kicker Casey Skowron went 20-for-28 on field goal attempts last season, with two of his kicks being blocked. He was actually at his most accurate from distance, making four out of five kicks in between 40-49 yards.

Redshirt senior punter Drew Riggleman punted 76 times for 3,501 yards (46.1 yard average) last season, with 23 punts being downed inside the 20-yard line. He had 30 punts of 50 yards or more, with a season high punt of 70 yards.

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