It’s Specialists Week at Testudo Times. This is the final week of our summer position preview series, which has already covered the quarterbacks, running backs, receivers, offensive linemen, defensive ends, defensive tackles, linebackers and defensive backs. So far, we’ve looked at Maryland football’s kicking situation and its 30-year-old punter. Today, it’s time to look at the players who will be snapping them the ball.
Matt Oliveira, No. 36
Weight: 211 lbs.
Hometown: Watchung, New Jersey
High school: Saint Peter’s Prep
James Rosenberry, No. 47
Weight: 215 lbs.
Hometown: Columbus, Ohio
High School: Olentangy
Long snapper is an overlooked position.
Only the nerdiest football roster nerds of football roster nerds know their team’s long snappers. The long snapper is usually a player big enough to play offensive or defensive line in high school, but not big enough to play at the next level. Like any other position, long snappers have camps dedicated to their craft across the country where coaches can discover potential recruits.
Like many little-known players, long snappers only come into the limelight when things go wrong. A bad snap can mean a huge position shift and sometimes the difference between a win and a loss.
Oliveira gives Maryland important experience.
Entering his senior season, Oliveira has started the Terps’ last 24 games, which means he’s had more time to build chemistry with some of Maryland’s specialists. He’s worked with Wade Lees for two years, snapped on one field goal with Mike Shinsky in 2016, and has worked with the Terps’ other specialists in practice. Chemistry is key for long snapping, as they not only need to snap the ball quickly, but snap it to a certain point that ensures the punter and holder are in the best position to make a good kick.
Oliveira also has two years snapping in some of the loudest environments in college football, which only helps. His experience in big stadiums and his experience with some of Maryland’s current specialists makes him the favorite going forward.
Rosenberry will be waiting in the wings.
The freshman is the only other long snapper listed on Maryland’s roster, and was the No. 7 long snapper in the class of 2018, per Kohl’s Kicking. Rosenberry committed to Maryland as a preferred walk-on, and Kohl’s Kicking said “he is the most consistent snapper in the country.”
Oliveira already two years of experience snapping with Lees, so he will probably have a leg up on Rosenberry heading into fall camp. However, Rosenberry should be snapping to both Joseph Petrino and Wade Lees next year, so DJ Durkin could go with the rookie if it helps the team and makes the future better.