After close examination of Cornell’s 2012 Special Teams depth chart, something becomes quite apparent — the absence of former kicker Brad Greenway ’12.
Without its former All-Ivy, All-American kicker, the Red looks to utilize the depth of its roster and fill the void with junior John Wells, according to head coach Kent Austin.
“[Wells] has big shoes to fill with [Greenway gone,]” Austin said. “[Greenway] was an outstanding kicker and did a great job for us. [Wells] has a really strong leg; [he] just has to find consistency right now. His leg is actually stronger than [Greenway’s,] but his accuracy is not there yet.”
Accuracy is an area that Wells says he is working on during practices, aiming to send the ball in the upwards of 60 yards. In the game against Fordham on Sept. 15, Wells averaged 63.2 yards on four kickoffs, despite missing two field goal attempts.
“I am usually aiming to kick to the end zone every single time,” Wells said. “I have a pretty strong leg to help the team get a great field position and a touch back.”
With each passing week as Wells’ power and accuracy improve, the kicker will further contribute to the Red’s overall power on the field and help the team score a field goal from almost any position on the field.
Returning to the lineup as starting kick returner for 2012 is junior Grant Gellatly. The 5-10 Washington native kicked a total of 240 yards for the Red in his first two years at East Hill. Gellatly was unable to return a kickoff against Fordham last week, as the Rams sent all seven kicks through the end zone.
Senior Luke Tasker is a familiar face on the field, as he makes his return as a three-year holder on all placements. He ranks among the all-time leaders in punt returns and punt return yards for the Red.
Rounding out the special teams spotlight is sophomore Sam Wood, who is making his debut as punter for the Cornell, after missing most of 2011 due to illness.
“[Wood] is real similar to John — they are both really talented kids with strong legs,” Austin said. “[Wood] is a tall, long-legged punter … and he needs to find a level of consistency that will even improve his game more.”
Wood punted five times in the season opener against Fordham, averaging 39.6 yards.
“As far as punting goes, I want to pin [the opponent] deep and I want to have a net gain of at least 40 yards on each punt,” Wood said.