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2018 Wisconsin special teams preview: Kickers are people too, you guys

It’s Gaglianone Time.

Capital One Orange Bowl - Miami v Wisconsin
I am unreasonably jacked up for Gaglianone to kick a 60-yard field goal this year.
Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

You know what is cool? Dancing.

You know what’s even cooler than that? Having a kicker that can dance after he hits monster field goals.

My beautiful, bouncing, Brazilian, baby boy Rafael Gaglianone returns for his redshirt senior season, coming off his best year kicking the ol’ pigskin, and he is looking to dance all over the Big Ten like Fred God-damned Astaire.

The Badgers lose nobody from last year’s successful kicking units and, as everyone knows, you Punt To Win in the B1G. It’s why Iowa is always hanging banners in football. Please, as always, don’t fact check this post for accuracy, Mike and Jake.

[Editor’s note: Noted, Drew.]

The potentially prolific Wisconsin offense might not offer 2017 second-team all-conference member Gags too many field-goal opportunities, but hopefully he gets to kick dozens of extra points and keep his three-year-long streak of made extra points alive. Let’s take a look at some gaudy stats below!

2017 Leaders

Rafael Gaglianone: 16-of-18 field goals (88.9%); 59-of-59 extra points (100%); long of 52

Zach Hintze: 79 kickoffs; 5061 yards; 64.1 yards per kickoff; 54 touchbacks

P.J. Rosowski: 9 kickoffs; 581 yards; 64.6 yards per kickoff; 4 touchbacks

Anthony Lotti: 57 punts; 2281 yards; 40.02 yards per punt; 25 punts inside the 20; 12 punts 50+ yards; 1 blocked

Connor Allen: 4 punts; 160 yards; 40 yards per punt; 2 inside the 20

Who’s Leaving

Nobody, that’s who.

Key Additions for 2018

Conor Schlichting, punter, Madison East

Position Overview

We should take a look at the special teams units historically. Gaglianone is second in school history in field goals made (60), extra points made (168), and field-goal percentage (.800), and first in school history in extra-point percentage (he’s only missed two in his whole dang career). Every game we get with Gaglianone is a gift and should be treated as such since he is fixing to be the best kicker this school has ever seen.

Not to be outdone by Gaglianone, fellow kicker Zach Hintze came on as a wonderful addition to the kickoff team. Hintze ranked 10th nationally in touchback percentage (68.4 percent) and kickoff average (64.1 yards per kickoff). It is extremely considerate of Hintze to allow Gaglianone to focus entirely on placekicking. It is also extremely considerate of him to allow his coverage units a breather on most kickoffs.

Punting is often seen as a “loss” for a team since it is giving up possession of the ball, but Anthony Lotti uses it as an opportunity to pin opponents deep in their own territory. In the Big Ten Championship Game against aOsu, Lotti banged five of his eight punts inside the Buckeyes’ 20-yard line. Giving Wisconsin’s award winning defense a leg up like that is huge and should not be overlooked.

The kicking game can often be a cause of consternation amongst a fanbase, especially when it goes wrong, but the Badgers have a veteran-laden group that is oozing with talent (holder Connor Allen has never dropped a football in his life, for goodness sakes, and long snapper Adam Bay is so accurate throwing things through his legs that he played pitcher in high school that way! I must reiterate that you do NOT fact check this post, Mike and Jake) which should allow coach Paul Chryst to rest easy when he sends the special teams out onto the field.