Florida State Seminoles: Shawn Powell

FSU Countdown: No. 33 Cason Beatty 

June, 19, 2013
Throughout the summer, Nole Nation will be counting down the 40 players we're projecting to make the biggest impact on the Seminoles' 2013 season, taking into consideration everything from experience to potential to their spot on the current depth chart.

Next up: No. 33 Cason Beatty

Position/Class: P/So.

What he's done: Beatty had big shoes to fill when he took over for All-American Shawn Powell last season as a true freshman, so it's probably not surprising that he struggled noticeably at times. For the season, Beatty's punting average of 38.3 was the worst in the ACC, and his blocked kick against NC State was integral in one of the worst FSU losses in recent years. By season's end though, there were signs of progress. Beatty averaged nearly three more yards per kick in his final three games (40.5) than in his first 11 (37.6).

2013 spring preview: Special teams

February, 15, 2013
From the impending quarterback competition to finding replacements for departing juniors, Jimbo Fisher will have his work cut out for him during the next few months as he lays the groundwork for the 2013 season.

With that in mind, we're going to go position by position, looking at Florida State's strengths and weaknesses as the Seminoles prepare for spring practice.

Previously: Cornerbacks, wide receivers/tight ends, defensive tackles, and running backs can be found HERE.

Next up: Special teams

2012 recap: Special teams is a pretty broad term, so it's tough to look back on last season and call it a success or a failure for Florida State when, the truth is, it was a little of both. On the plus side, kicker Dustin Hopkins turned in the best season of his remarkable career, setting the NCAA scoring mark for kickers in the process. Lamarcus Joyner and Karlos Williams both were exceptional on kick returns once again, and FSU even accounted for three punt-return touchdowns in its first season without Greg Reid. Of course, the flip side of that was the significant struggles by freshman punter Cason Beatty, including a block against NC State that likely cost FSU the game, a bevy of turnovers on punt returns that resulted in a revolving door at the position, and a truly ridiculous number of special teams penalties (with Williams responsible for a season's worth by himself).

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The Big Board: Very special teams 

September, 27, 2012
There were two missed field goals, a holding penalty, and a fumbled punt against Clemson. In other words, Dustin Hopkins said, it wasn't a good day for Florida State's special teams.

Indeed, the miscues played a big role in Florida State's early deficit, but as has been the case all season, the special teams also helped turn the tide.

Looking back on the Seminoles' win against the Tigers last Saturday, two of the game's biggest plays came on special teams.

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For all the buzz surrounding Ronald Darby or the expectations for five-star recruits Mario Edwards Jr. and Eddie Goldman, the only freshman guaranteed a starting job for Florida State this year is punter Cason Beatty.

And while Beatty has largely been secluded with the other specialists throughout the bulk of fall camp, his role this season could be significant.

Beatty replaces All-American punter Shawn Powell, and he'll have his work cut out for him to live up to that lofty precedent.

Powell led the nation with a 47-yard average a year ago -- nearly five yards per punt better than the next closest competitor in the ACC.

Jimbo Fisher isn't exactly expecting those results in Year 1 for Beatty, but thus far he's been impressed with what he's seen.

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Florida State is a week away from its first game, and while the veterans are counting down the minutes until there is real football to be played, it's getting a bit anxious for the freshmen.

"There are a lot of these young guys that still have a lot of work to do," Jimbo Fisher said. "They need to come on, because we're going to need them. A lot of them are doing good, but we've got to get them game ready."

Unlike last season, when FSU had freshmen in a number of prominent roles -- including four starters on the offensive line -- that need isn't quite so great this season. The advantage of Florida State's depth is that it isn't reliant on inexperienced players at most key positions.

That means Fisher can be somewhat cautious with which freshmen he puts on the field, and that's a decision he'll need to make soon.

"I think quite a few of them will get in there," Fisher said. "Some might be ready, but have a good quality number of guys in front of them, and you want to be careful not to waste a year on 50 plays. We've got to evaluate that, and in the next day or two, we'll make some decisions."

A year ago, 13 of Florida State's 22 true freshmen saw action, including eight as occasional starters. This year, only one freshman, Ronald Darby, appears to be in competition for a starting job, and the overall need for contributors is less. But a look at each player underscores the idea that there aren't many who can't contribute.

Here's our breakdown of which freshman are likely to see action, and which ones could be saddled with a redshirt.

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During the final 10 weeks before the season kicks off, NoleNation will march through the depth chart to analyze Florida State's top 50 contributors for the 2012 season. From Austin Barron to Vince Williams, we'll review each player's career, evaluate his role in 2012 and project what might be in store down the road.

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