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UCLA Football Spring Preview: Special Teams

We finish up our Spring Football Preview with a look at Special Teams.

Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports

Last but not least, we come to Special Teams. The fact that Special Teams always end up last in these sorts of preview is ironic because, far too often, Special Teams either wins or loses football games.

How many times in the Jim Mora era has a game come down to whether or not a field goal is made? The answer is too many.

That's why Ka'imi Fairbairn was much-maligned his first three years at UCLA before finally having a clutch senior season.

And, let's face it, the punting game was a source of much frustration last season.

Well, the bad news is Ka'imi is gone, but the good news is so is Matt Mengel. Christopher Longo is gone too. Who? He was our long snapper. The fact you might not recognize his name is a good thing.

This season, UCLA has three freshmen specialists coming in.

Kicker J.J. Molson started school in January and is expected to participate in Spring Ball. But, incoming punter Austin Kent and longsnapper Johnny Den Bleyker aren't expected on campus until June. So, they won't be around for Spring Practice.

Molson looks to be the real deal as well as the heir apparent to Jerry Neuheisel's role as consummate UCLA cheerleader. In social media postings, Molson seems really happy to be a Bruin. Well, considering he's from Canada, of course he's happy to be in LA.

Of course, the three specialists are only one portion of special teams.

The other part is kick and punt returning.

Look for Ishmael Adams, Steven Manfro and Stephen Johnson to get the most reps.

And that concludes our 2016 Spring Football Preview.

Go Bruins!!!