the study of all things kicker related

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Detroit Lions Kicker, Punter & Snapper News

August 22, 2014 - third preseason game
Kickers Nate Freese and Giorgio Tavecchio didn’t get a lot of action in this one. In fact, Tavecchio had the only field goal attempt of the night. He missed it from 51 yards in the waning moments of the game. Caldwell has said all along this competition is a marathon, not a sprint, but missing a 51-yarder indoors didn’t look so good after Freese hit one from 55 yards outdoors from the dirt of O.Co Stadium in Oakland last week. The edge might be tipping in Freese’s favor. 'It’s one of those things we’ve been constantly evaluating, this is not the first opportunity to evaluate,' Caldwell said after the game. 'We’ve been doing that all along. It’s been a close race but we’ll see how that goes'.” - Lions

August 19, 2014 - kicking switch-up
"The Detroit Lions will look a little different this week when their kickers step on the field. For the first time this preseason, punter Sam Martin will likely handle some of the kickoff duties as he competes to hold on to that job along with his already-secure status as the team’s punter. Lions coach Jim Caldwell said Tuesday he has liked how both field goal kicking candidates – Giorgio Tavecchio and Nate Freese – have handled that spot as well. The bigger wrinkle is how he’s going to handle Tavecchio and Freese during the game. In the first two games, Freese has been the kicker for the first half and Tavecchio the second half. Now, he is going to a rotational system for Friday’s game against Jacksonville. One player will take one kick. The next player will take the next kick and so on and so forth." - ESPN

August 15, 2014 - second preseason game
"In the kicking competition, rookie Nate Freese made a 55-yard field goal off the stadium’s infield dirt, but missed a 33-yard extra point off the right upright. Giorgio Tavecchio, who’s competing with Freese for the kicking job, made his only field goal of the night from 25 yards." - Detroit Free Press

August 13, 2014 - kicking competition
"Kickers Nate Freese and Giorgio Tavecchio were put in such a spot during Wednesday's practice. The schedule called for a “kicking competition” at practice, but neither Freese nor Tavecchio knew exactly what that meant. It turns out they’d be kicking with the entire team surrounding them while yelling and taunting them.... Freese and Tavecchio rotated kicks from 36, 45, 54, 62 and 67 yards. Freese made his attempts from 45 and 54 and missed from 36, 62 and 67. Tavecchio made his kicks from 36, 45 and 54 and missed the last two from 62 and 67, though the 67-yard attempt looked to be only a yard or two short." - Lions

August 9, 2014 - first preseason game
"Nate Freese made both of his field goals in the first half, although both were somewhat chip shots -- 33 and 37 yards. Meanwhile, Giorgio Tavecchio made the game-winning extra point. Freese and Tavecchio also handled kickoffs as the Lions try to keep Sam Martin's leg as fresh as possible for the season." - ESPN

August 4, 2014 - kicking competition
"Nate Freese missed two more kicks on Monday, badly shanking a 39-yard attempt and pushing a 48-yard effort with plenty of distance wide right. Freese's primary competition, Giorgio Tavecchio, was perfect once again, and hasn't missed since the first day of camp. 'It's never one of those situations where we strictly look at because a guy was drafted or not drafted is how you judge him,' coach Jim Caldwell said. 'What we're going to try to do is get the best player out there playing for us to give us the best chance to win. And we don't care where he came from, who he is. We're just looking for results and that's what counts.' Freese has taken all the first-team reps at this stage, but Tavecchio has clearly outperformed the seventh-round draft choice. While practice success will carry plenty of weight in the final decision, Caldwell reminded reporters it's not the only factor in the competition. 'You like data, you like hard, firm data,' Caldwell said. 'You like to try and challenge them in a number of different situations, so you really get a good feel of what he's capable of doing. But we're looking at results, more so than anything else'." -  MLive

August 2, 2014 - scrimmage
"The first-team offense scored on two of its four drives.... The other score was a 47-yard field goal by rookie kicker Nate Freese. In addition to Freese’s field goal, Giorgio Tavecchio hit a 50-yarder." - The Detroit News

August 1, 2014 - kicking competition
"The field goal kickers rebounded in a big way. Both Nate Freese and Giorgio Tavecchio converted all on five of their attempts, including a pair of blasts easily clearing the cross bar from 53 yards out. " - MLive 

July 31, 2014 - punter Sam Martin an option on long field goals
"Nate Freese nor Giorgio Tavecchio has separated himself from the other so far in camp. That wouldn’t be a problem if it was because both have been impressive, but that hasn’t been the case. Both have suffered from inconsistency and though Freese likely has the advantage due to being drafted in the seventh round last May, concerns about his leg strength appear well-founded. If Freese can at least show the high level of consistency that helped make him a Lions draft pick – he didn’t miss a kick as a senior at Boston College – then the Lions may be able to live with the limited range. Why? Because they have another option. Punter Sam Martin. Via the Detroit Free Press: 'Martin also said there’s a possibility he could be used on longer field-goal attempts. He lacks consistency as a placekicker, but he has plenty of power.' Martin showed plenty of power in winning kickoff duties last season, a role he’s expected to keep no matter who ends up as the kicker on the final roster." - Side Lion Report

July 25, 2014 - punter Drew Butler signed
"Butler played for the Steelers in 2012, averaging 43.8 yards per punt. Last season, he broke camp with the Steelers, but was cut before the first game in favor of former Michigan punter Zoltan Mesko. He signed an future/reserve contract with the Bears at the end of December, but was released in May." - Detroit Free Press

June 27, 2014 - kicking competition
"Nate Freese, a seventh-round pick from Boston College, remains the favorite over Giorgio Tavecchio, who went undrafted out of Cal in 2012, but the competition will likely continue through training camp and into the exhibition games.... 'It’s good so far,' Freese said Tuesday at the NFL Rookie Symposium in Berea, Ohio. 'I’m glad that there’s some competition. Competition makes everyone better.' But Freese also said he’s not approaching the competition as a simple head-to-head with Tavecchio. 'I have more of a competition with myself,' he said. 'I see it in that sense, but if I go out there and do what I need to do every day, I should be OK.' Freese said he and Tavecchio have gotten along well in their nearly two months together in Detroit. They’re the only specialists competing for a job, with punter Sam Martin and long snapper Don Muhlbach cemented in their roles." - Detroit News

June 17, 2014 - minicamp kicking update
"Nate Freese's kicks were more difficult to judge last week during minicamp, when the team moved to its outdoor practice field, but he said he kicked much better. He attributed his successes to establishing a more comfortable pace with long-snapper Don Muhlbach and holder Sam Martin. 'Just getting used to everything,' Freese said. 'Not really technique. Just getting used to their rhythm on the snap and hold, and when I should leave my approach and whatnot.' Giorgio Tavecchio, meanwhile, trended the other way. The Italian appeared to be Detroit's best kicker during OTAs, including nailing a 56-yarder -- with room to spare -- during that special teams session. But he was more erratic during minicamp. 'I'm furious, because that was probably my worst day in my professional life,' Tavecchio told after Day 1 of minicamp. 'But the show must go on. Keep working and keep moving forward'." - MLive

June 12, 2014 - punter Sam Martin working on consistency
"But when Martin went back and looked at the film after the season, there were some things that concerned him. 'I noticed lots of times, no matter what the result of the punt was, good punt or bad punt, my technique oftentimes would deviate between punts,' he said. 'Even if I hit a good ball sometimes I wouldn’t like my follow through. So the big focus was just getting more technically sound and repeating the same thing over and over.' That’s been the main focus in practice through the offseason training program, OTAs and minicamp, and Martin says he’s seeing results. 'It’s resulted, at least from what I’ve seen so far, in a lot more control of my directional punts,' he said. 'I’m putting punts a lot closer to the sideline consistently and I’m just more comfortable'.” - Lions

May 29, 2014 - OTA's kicking update
"The battle to be the Lions starting kicker continues. Rookie Nate Freese missed from 46 and 48-yards out. Meanwhile, kicker Giorgio Tavecchio was four-for-four, including a 56-yarder." - Detroit Sports 1051

May 27, 2014 - punter Sam Martin prepares for long season
"Martin, a fifth-round pick last year, rewarded the Lions' faith in him. He was among the five best punters in the league for much of last season. But all that work also took a toll. He became more inconsistent during the second half of last season. He battled a groin injury, which was known, and also back pain, which was not.... Martin says he's better prepared for the rigors of the NFL as he enters his sophomore season with the Lions. That starts with technique. He has modified his punt and kickoff motions to make them less violent. That should diminish the toll on his body over the long haul. 'I'm just a little more technically sound now,' he said. 'I've sacrificed a little torque -- violent movement -- but the ball is still going as far, and it's not as hard on my body.' Martin also has emphasized rest this offseason, which has helped to rejuvenate his leg strength. While he wasn't punting, he was maintaining his body through yoga, massages and a functional core/mobility routine that is designed to stabilize his back. 'Stuff that will be able to help me kick late into December, January -- even February -- without breaking down,' Martin said." - MLive

May 19, 2014 - kickoff competition
"[Nate Freese]'s expected to challenge Sam Martin for kickoff duties as well. 'I think it's a competition right now,' Freese said Sunday after wrapping up rookie camp in Allen Park. 'Obviously it's Sam's job, but whoever is hitting them best in camp I think they might go with'. Martin was in a similar position last year, after the Lions took him in the fifth round out of Appalachian State. He was immediately slotted as the starting punter, but also expected to challenge veteran David Akers for kickoff duties. He won that job and had some success early in the season. He finished seventh in the league with an average of 69.7 yards per attempt, according to ProFootballFocus, and didn't allow a return 58.6 percent of the time. That ranked 16th. Martin ceded those duties to Akers late in the season, as his leg tired from the long draft process and season. Though he's the favorite to reclaim the job this year, there's another challenger he will have to beat out. 'I want it just as much as he does, you know?' Freese said. 'But it's a competition. We'll see what happens'. Freese generated touchbacks 69.9 percent of the time last year with Boston college, which ranked fourth in the country, and averaged 64.2 yards per kickoff. That was sixth -- and he thinks there's still some untapped juice in that big right leg." - MLive

May 18, 2014 - Nate Freese consults Jason Hanson
"Speaking of Jason Hanson, he's been helping the Lions kickers at times this offseason, and was at this weekend’s rookie minicamp helping out Freese for the first time. 'I just kind of picked his brain,' Freese said of working with Hanson. 'What did you do your first minicamp? How did you handle yourself? What’s your routine? Just little things like that.' Freese said Hanson told him he did a good job, which is a good start to his NFL career.... 'Now, in terms of going with a young kicker, I’ve been there before,' head coach Jim Caldwell said. 'A couple years ago with Baltimore we had a young guy that kicked pretty well as a first-year kicker.' Caldwell was referring to Justin Tucker, who was undrafted in 2012 and made the Pro Bowl last year. 'We anticipate that Nate’s (Freese) going to just continue to develop and be very, very good at what he’s doing,' Caldwell said." - Lions

May 13, 2014 - kicker John Potter released
"Potter, 24, suggested his departure from the Detroit organization was a result of the Lions not wanting to have more than two kickers on its expanded 90-man roster and that Tavecchio, who spent time in the Green Bay Packers training camp in 2013, and seventh round draft pick Nate Freese were the two choices. 'I think they wanted to stick with two kickers,' Potter said. 'Giorgio kicked better than me in the first couple weeks, so I’m not surprised with the decision. I would have liked to have a few more weeks, because my field goals had been getting better'.... Just hours after his release, Potter already had a plan in place for moving forward. He said he will continue to train in the Detroit area for the time being and had a kicking coach lined up in Chicago he would be working with." - Mlive

May 13, 2014 - punter Nick Liste invited to minicamp
“I thought I was done, to be honest,' said Liste, a Niles High graduate who was first team all-conference punter at Youngstown State last season. 'But I was holding out hope. I do understand teams are not necessarily going after kickers and punters first when it comes to free agency. I thought maybe I could still get a shot down the line.' Then, on Monday morning, Liste got a call from his agent. The Detroit Lions were inviting him to Friday’s rookie minicamp. True, the Lions already had a good ex-FCS punter in Sam Martin, who Detroit selected in the fifth round of last year’s draft out of Appalachian State, but it was an opportunity.
That’s all Liste wanted. 'Obviously I’m looking to do the best I can,' he said. 'No matter what happens, I’ll get my foot in the door and that’s really what I’m hoping to do. If I can get on film, maybe other teams will get it too'.” - The Vindicator

May 12, 2014 - kicker Nate Freese inside & out
"The past four years I've been in Boston under not ideal situations,' Freese said. 'The stadium is really windy and cold, so I'm really excited to be playing indoors.' The conditions in Boston should prepare Freese for the blustery, inclement, and sometimes downright frigid conditions he'll face during annual road games in Chicago and Green Bay. Last season, the Lions drafted punter Sam Martin, another under-the-radar special teams talent. After a couple months working with Detroit special teams coordinator John Bonamego, Martin was able to improve his distance and consistency. General manager Martin Mayhew is confident Bonamego will be able to do the same for Freese. 'Bono (John Bonamego) will get working on his technique and stuff, so we'll see how he does,' Mayhew said. 'He's been very consistent and very accurate. He has not been a guy that's booming 58-yard field goals, but these guys develop over time and mature. We'll see how strong his leg gets when he gets here.' Freese will take the field as a member of the Lions for the first time during the team's rookie minicamp, which gets underway on Friday." - MLive

May 10, 2014 - kicker Nate Freese drafted
With the 14th pick of the 7th round in the NFL Draft, the Lions selected Boston College kicker Nate Freese. See his profile here.
"When Day 3 of the NFL draft kicked off around lunchtime today, Nate Freese had no expectation of being drafted. By dinner, he was a Detroit Lion. The Lions used their final pick of the draft, No. 229 overall, to take Freese, a kicker from Boston College. 'Going into it, not really,' Freese said when asked if he expected to be drafted. 'I had heard some teams were interested, but I was expecting whatever. But I think it’s pretty awesome that it happened.' Freese is the first kicker the Lions have drafted since they traded up to take Jason Hanson in the second round of the 1992 draft.... General manager Martin Mayhew said the Lions thought about taking Freese with their sixth-round pick, and were pleasantly surprised when he was still on the board at pick No. 229. 'He kicked outside his whole career,' Mayhew said. 'I think he’ll be great in our division. Didn’t miss a field goal last year. I think he missed two in 2012, I think. But very accurate guy. Very consistent'.” - Detroit Free Press

April 24, 2014 - kicking consultant Jason Hanson
"Hanson is spending time with young kickers in what amounts to free-lance consulting in this week’s veteran mini-camp in Allen Park. Hanson, who retired before last season after 21 seasons with the Lions, said he was invited to mini-camp by John Bonamego, who is beginning his second season as special-teams coordinator. Hanson’s presence was obvious Wednesday during the portion of practice that was open to the media. 'He (Bonamego) just wanted another set of eyes for the guys they want to kick,' Hanson said in a telephone interview from his home Wednesday evening. 'He wanted my opinion – somebody else to give feedback to him. They have a short time to look at the guys, to see if they feel they have the guys they want or if they want to look at other people'.... John Potter and Giorgio Tavecchio, who have combined for four field-goal attempts – all by Potter – are the only kickers on the roster. Both were signed in the offseason, and Potter is the only one who has kicked in a regular-season NFL game." - Lions

April 15, 2014 - kicker Nate Freese visits
"The Lions also brought in Boston College kicker Nate Freese, one day after special teams coordinator John Bonamego outlined finding David Akers' replacement as a top offseason priority. Highly accurate, Freese connected on 86.4 percent (70-81) of his field goals in four seasons, including a perfect 20-20 last year. The potential downside is his range. Freese made just two kicks from beyond 50 yards last season, including a career-best from 52. Although the Lions wouldn't need him in either role, Freese also handled kickoffs and punts for the Eagles last season." - MLive

April 15, 2014 - kicker search
"The Detroit Lions have two kickers on their roster — John Potter and Giorgio Tavecchio — but the man who handles field goals for them this fall could be someone entirely different. Special teams coordinator John Bonamego said at a town hall meeting for season-ticket holders Monday night that the Lions are still on the lookout for help at kicker. 'From a scouting standpoint, it’s our top priority in my department,' Bonamego said. 'We have two guys on the roster right now that both have some experience.… We’ll evaluate those guys in this upcoming period and we’ll compare them to the guys that are coming up in the draft, the draft-eligible guys, and we’ll find one'. Potter played six games as a kickoff specialist for the Buffalo Bills in 2012 and three games for Washington last year. He made three of four field goals in Washington, with a long of 43 yards. Tavecchio was in training camp with the San Francisco 49ers in 2012 and the Green Bay Packers last year. He nearly beat out Mason Crosby for the Packers’ kicking job last fall and then tried out for the Lions in December." - Detroit Free Press

February 27, 2014 - long snapper Don Muhlbach re-signed
"The Detroit Lions have signed longtime long-snapper Don Muhlbach to a one-year contract, according to the team's website. Muhlbach has been with the organization the past 10 seasons after signing as a undrafted free agent out of Texas A&M in 2004. He's missed only one game since 2004 and is considered one of the best in the business. He was a Pro Bowler in 2012. Muhlbach is believed to have signed a minimum salary benefit deal. That means he will make the 10th-year veteran minimum ($955,000, plus up to a $65,000 bonus) but the contract will count as a third-year veteran minimum ($645,000 plus the bonus) against the cap." - MLive

February 21, 2014 - parting ways with kicker David Akers
"Embattled Detroit Lions kicker David Akers is among five veterans who were informed by general manager Martin Mayhew they will not return next season.... Akers is the most notable player of those who will not return. He signed with the Lions last offseason, but fell out of favor after struggling with his accuracy. He was 19-of-24 on the season, good for a 79.2 percent hit rate that was his second-worst mark since 2007. Mayhew said he expects kickers John Potter and Giorgio Tavecchio to compete for the job after signing futures deals this offseason, though the club could pursue veterans in free agency." - MLive

New England Patriots Kicker, Punter & Snapper News

August 22, 2014 - Stephen Gostkowski kicks 60 yarder
It was the chance Stephen Gostkowski was hoping for. 'That's the time you want to try a long field goal,' the placekicker said following New England's 30-7 win. 'The thing about trying a long field goal like that is there are no expectations.' There were no expectations for the two-time Pro Bowler. The uprights stood 60 yards away. The longest field goal in Patriots history stood as a 57-yarder from Adam Vinatieri 12 years ago. And the longest field goal in Gostkowski's Patriots history stood as a 54-yarder one year ago.'You go out there, and it's really a win-win situation. Nobody expects you to make it, so it really puts your mind at ease,' the nine-year pro said. There was ease. But the snap from Danny Aiken, the hold from punter Ryan Allen, and the kick from Gostkowski transpired suddenly. 'The play clock was running down, so I didn't really get to aim,' Gostkowski explained. 'I just kind of kicked it.' Gostkowski did, line-driving the ball into the breeze. That breeze carried it right, but it also carried it just over the crossbar for three points. And with that, the Patriots headed into intermission up 13." - MassLive

August 17, 2014 - long snapper Tyler Ott released
"The New England Patriots informed rookie long snapper Tyler Ott of his release on Sunday, marking a decisive move in one of the under-the-radar competitions in training camp. That leaves incumbent Danny Aiken, the team's snapper the last three seasons, as the lone snapper on the roster at this time. Ott, an undrafted free agent from Harvard, was part of the protection unit that surrendered a blocked punt in Friday night's preseason game. The player Ott was blocking, receiver Arrelious Benn, had the block." - ESPN 

July 28, 2014 - long snapper Tyler Ott learning
"Obviously, I'm in here competing against Danny, another good snapper,' Ott said. 'He's been doing it for three years for them. I'm coming in, and I'm working on what I can work on, really crafting my skill. It's kind of the first time I've been able to really focus on only long snapping with a long-snapping coach. So I'm learning a lot. I'm picking up a lot of blocking schemes, snapping technique. It's all pretty new to me just being a self-taught snapper for my four years at Harvard.' The Patriots, who resume training camp at 9:15 a.m. today after having Monday off, have been practicing for about 2½ hours when they've been on the field. For most of that time, kicker Stephen Gostkowski, punter Ryan Allen, Aiken and Ott have kept to themselves. While it might seem awkward to have two players competing for one position spend so much time together, Ott stressed that's not the case. He characterized his relationship with Aiken as cordial and lacking animosity, with the snappers helping each other when the opportunity arises.  'It's a competition, free competition,' Ott said. "It's a business, but that doesn't mean that we have any negativity toward each other. So it's been good'." - Telegram & Gazette

July 18, 2014 - long snapper competition

"Danny Aiken signed a one-year deal for the league minimum to return to the team this offseason. He has been the Patriots' long-snapper for three years, but has faced competition for the past two years. He has been mostly solid in his role, but had a high snap go over Allen's head in the playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts.... Tyler Ott is officially listed as a tight end, but he was not a big part of the offense with 15 receptions for 188 yards and four touchdowns on the season. He earned the majority of his playing time as Harvard's long snapper and projects to that role in the NFL. Ott is a near mirror image of Aiken at 6-foot-3 and 252 pounds.... If Ott can give the Patriots anything at tight end, he will already be more versatile than Aiken, who has never played a snap on offense. Ott is also signed for the next three years, and is cheaper than Aiken this year ($725,000 cap hit for Aiken, $420,000 for Ott) while Aiken is entering a contract year." -

May 15, 2014 - long snapper Charley Hughlett released
"First-year long snapper Charley Hughlett were released Thursday.... Hughlett was competing with incumbent Danny Aiken. That competition will now come in the form of Harvard's Tyler Ott, whose signing with the team should become official once he's concluded with his final exams this week." - ESPN

May 10, 2014 - long snapper Tyler Ott signed
"Ott also served as the primary long snapper for one of the top special team units in the Ivy League. Harvard finished the season a perfect 45 of 45 when kicking points after touchdowns and 14 of 17 on field goal attempts. The Crimson sent 46 punts down the field for a total of 1,838 yards." - Crimson

March 19, 2014 - long snapper Charley Hughlett signed
"Hughlett, 23, originally entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with the Dallas Cowboys out of Central Florida on April 30, 2012. The 6-foot-4, 251-pounder was released by Dallas on Aug. 27, 2012. He was re-signed by Dallas on Jan. 7, 2013 and released for a second time on May 29, 2013. He handled all long snapping duties for four seasons at Central Florida" - New England Patriots

March 7, 2014 - long snapper Danny Aiken re-signed
"Aiken, who was scheduled to become a restricted free agent, has agreed to terms with the team on a one-year contract, according to a source. Aiken has snapped in every game for the Patriots over the last three seasons after being claimed on waivers from the Buffalo Bills on Sept. 4, 2011. The contract agreement puts the Patriots in position to return all three specialists (Aiken, kicker Stephen Gostkowski, punter/holder Ryan Allen) for the second straight year, which is often the continuity that most clubs desire. As the Patriots’ lone restricted free agent this offseason, Aiken could have been tendered at three different levels -- $1.43 million for a right of first refusal, $2.18 million at the second-round level, and $3.11 million at the first-round level." - ESPN

Montana Grizzlies Kicker, Punter & Snapper News

August 22, 2014 - Chris Lider named starting kicker
"Montana football coach Mick Delaney said Friday that junior Chris Lider will be his place-kicker when his team opens at Wyoming next Saturday. Lider started the entire 2012 season but lost the job to Ben Worst early last year after missing three extra point attempts. Worst left town in the spring and is now a member of the Idaho Vandals. For the past three weeks Lider has been battling for the No. 1 spot with transfer Daniel Sullivan, Wyoming’s starter in 2011, and sophomore upstart Harrison Greenberg. 'We’ll go with Chris it looks like because he’s been on the field,' Delaney said. 'Unless something drastic were to happen in the next week. We’ll try to give Daniel some opportunities that are meaningful and start to make a decision there. Harrison came out of spring the No. 1 guy and he’s still battling like heck. He was very good yesterday and today'.” - Missoulian

August 16, 2014 - second summer scrimmage
Field Goal kicking: Chris Lider: 3-of-3 field goals (37, 40, 42); Harrison Greenberg: 4-of-of-4 (37, 37, 40, 42); Daniel Sullivan 1-of-2 (40 G, 42 NG).
Punting: Stephen Shaw 3 for 42, 44, 37; and Lider 1 for 40.- Grizzlies

July 31, 2014 - kicker Ben Worst departs
"Ben Worst, who became the starting placekicker for the Montana football team on the third week of the 2013 season, has left the program. He is now a member of the Idaho Vandals in Moscow. Worst was an honorable mention all-Big Sky Conference selection as a true freshman in 2013.  He was 48 for 48 in PATs and made 9 of 17 field goal attempts. On his Twitter page, Worst wrote: 'I have to say thank you to the University of Montana for giving me the opportunity to play there. Much respect.' A native of Twin Falls, Idaho, Worst was expected to battle Chris Lider for the Grizzlies’ starting job in camp in August. Lider is now the clear-cut favorite to earn the No. 1 spot after losing the job early last season. Lider had a solid season in 2012, making 15 of 21 field goal attempts and 37 of 41 PAT kicks." - Grizzly Game Day

April 18, 2014 - spring specialists
"One of the main goals for University of Montana head football coach Mick Delaney going into spring drills this year was to establish who the starting kicker for the 2014 season would be. However, that goal was not achieved, and the three players who are vying for that role will carry their competition into fall camp, which begins in early August.... Two of the three players vying for the kicker's job, junior Chris Lider and sophomore Ben Worst, have started at the position each of the past two seasons. Also vying for the starting job is sophomore squad member Harrison Greenberg. 'We went into spring hoping that one of them would just take the job over in the spring, and we've got one kicker and we're ready to go, period, but that didn't happen,' said Griz head coach Mick Delaney; 'That's not all bad, because I think that all three of them, Ben, Harrison, and Chris have improved though the spring. They each do something a little different'.... Junior punter Stephen Shaw returns as the starter for the third season in a row, and is coming off an excellent sophomore campaign.  'Stephen's worked really hard in the weight room this winter and this spring,' Delaney said. 'I think that he has a chance to be an All-American. He's got a strong, live leg, and he needs a little more consistency'." - Grizzlies

April 17, 2014 - final spring scrimmage
"Field Goals (10-of-15): Ben Worst - Makes: 24, 38, 40, 42. Misses: 49. Chris Lider - Makes: 24, 38, 40; Misses: 42, 49. Harrison Greenberg - Makes: 24, 38, 42; Misses: 40, 49." - Grizzlies

March 22, 2014 - first spring scrimmage
"Head coach Mike Delaney said one of the priorities this spring is to establish a place-kicker. Junior Chris Lider, and sophomores Harrison Greenberg and Ben Worst are the three players competing for that job. Worst started the last 11 games of the 2013 season, and made 9-of-17 field goal tries. That trio went a combined 10-of-17 (58.8%) in field goal attempts in today's scrimmage. 'It's a work in progress,' said Delaney regarding the competition for the place-kicking job. 'We are going to try to find a kicker by the end of spring, and say ‘okay,' that's what we've got, and that why were doing more than usual in that area. We got some heavy competition there, and we'll see what happens'." - KPAX

Arkansas Razorbacks Kicker, Punter & Snapper News

August 22, 2104 - final summer scrimmage
"Senior specialist Sam Irwin-Hill showed his strong leg, booting kickoffs deep into the end zone and unleashing some long punts … Senior kicker John Henson nailed a 56-yard field goal with room to spare." - Nashville Sports Mix

August 18, 2014 - kicking competition
“I got a lot of good perspectives on all sorts of lessons.' John Henson is finally ready to apply them on the field, though, as he competes with freshman Cole Hedlund for the starting position in preseason camp. The Razorbacks are in search of someone they can count on after Zach Hocker was selected in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins. So far, Henson looks like he’s the favorite to win the position. He has made every field goal attempt in practices open to the media this preseason and has shown range solid range. Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said before last Saturday’s scrimmage Henson had a 'bit of an edge' in the competition against Hedlund because he has been 'absolutely fantastic' on field goals. But Arkansas holder Matt Emrich — who is preparing for his second year at the position — said both have made the competition intriguing this month. 'It’s completely different this year because last year it was obviously Zach and it was him the whole way,' Emrich said. 'They’re battling right now. John’s doing a great job and Cole’s doing a good job too, for a freshman. We’ll see where it ends up'.” - Times Record

August 16, 2014 - summer scrimmage
"Kickers John Henson and Cole Hedlund each missed one field goal Saturday. Henson's miss was wide left from 47 yards away. Hedlund had a 30-yard kick bounce off the left upright. It appears Henson would be the team's starting place-kicker and kickoff man if the season began today." - Whole Hog Sports

August 13, 2014 - coach discusses kicking
"To open the Razorbacks’ second practice of the day, Arkansas’ kicking team squared off in a field goal competition. Senior John Henson was perfect and closed the competition with a 50-yard field goal. Coach Bielema on the kicking game: "The kickers have been a highlight, including the punters. Each kicker has been either 3-for-4 or 4-for-4 almost every single day we’ve been practicing. I always like to put them a bit out of their comfort range and they’ve responded. John Henson has been absolutely fantastic in the field goal department and Sam Irwin-Hill has looked good in the kick-off department, which has been a nice surprise for us." - Arkansas Fight

August 10, 2014 - kicker John Henson awarded scholarship
"Kicker John Henson, who is a senior, was awarded a scholarship today by Bret Bielema, who has said he wants to build a strong walk-on program at Arkansas. Henson was 1-of-1 on PAT attempts in Arkansas' season-opening victory over Louisiana-Lafayette. He also had one kickoff that went 65 yards in that game. In 2012, he made two appearances playing in games against South Carolina and LSU. Against LSU he scored all seven of his points kicking one PAT as well as field goals of 25 and 17 yards." - 247 Sports

July 26, 2014 - punter Blake Johnson commits
"He and his family visited Fayetteville on Thursday before leaving for a visit to LSU. Johnson, 6-1, 190, of Los Alamitos, Calif., is rated the No. 1 punter in the nation by Chris Sailer Kicking and had scholarship offers from Oregon State, Duke and Colorado. LSU asked him to walk-on because of limited scholarships. Johnson said the coaching staff and the people of Fayetteville helped sway him." - Whole Hog Sports 

May 30, 2014 - the specialists
"Australian Sam Irwin-Hill’s introduction to major-college football was action-packed. The ambidextrous punter ranked 13th in the nation with a 44.3-yard average, and he triggered several fourth-down gambles, running and throwing, with mixed results. The Razorbacks gave a scholarship to Texas legend Cole Hedlund, hoping he can follow Zach Hocker as the next four-year kicker in the program." - Athlon Sports

February 5, 2014 - kicker Cole Hedlund signs
"Hedlund went 24/26 on field goal attempts as a senior. Coming up one short of his own national single season record he set as a sophomore. If that's not impressive enough, he also set the national record for field goals in a career with 51, a week after missing his only two of the season. His efforts earned him a first team selection on the USA Today's All-USA team. Hedlund is rated a three star prospect on most major recruiting services, he chose Arkansas over Texas A&M, among other schools.With the kicker spot vacated by Zach Hocker, who is no stranger to breaking records himself, Hedlund should definitely be in the running for the open job." - Arkansas Fight

South Carolina State Bulldogs Kicker, Punter & Snapper News

August 23, 2014 - freshman specialists
"For nine months, there was a glaring omission from the South Carolina State football roster. The graduations of Nick Belcher and Will Roper left the Bulldogs without a single active placekicker or punter available. Through spring practice and even voluntary workouts, the uprights at Oliver C. Dawson Stadium served as an end zone prop with little usage for kick attempts. With the arrival of freshmen Tyler Scandrett as placekicker and York High School quarterback Jerome Pettiway handling the punting duties, S.C. State is now a complete team again heading into the Aug. 30 season-opener against Benedict College at the Palmetto Capital City Classic at Charlie W. Johnson Stadium in Columbia. The influx of youth is both promising and somewhat anxious for South Carolina State head football coach Buddy Pough. 'We’ve got a lot of guys on that special teams game that scare you a little bit, but they’re pretty good,' he said. 'The good thing is they’ve got dern good ability. The bad thing about them is they’ve got no experience and we talk about going younger because we’re possibly going to try to see if we can make our punter our holder. If we can get that done, then that make us even younger. That makes us a whole freshman crowd. They’ll be lots of times when I’ll probably be standing there watching the PATs with my eyes closed.” -  The Times and Democrat

August 2, 2014 - new specialist arrives
"Head coach Buddy Pough, said, during the fall practices that he is relieved to finally have a kicker in place, after going through spring drills without a kicker or a punter on the roster. The best part about having Tyler Scandrett (Fr.-5-9/170-Punter/Kicker) here is that he is a freshman so that gives us time to work with him, according to the Bulldog mentor." - Bulldogs

February 5, 2014 - kicker/punter Tyler Scandrett signs
"Lamar County HS, Barnesville, GA - 2013 All-State selection... Made 23 of 28 field goals for his career... Averaged 34.9 yards per punt... Recorded 38 career touchbacks on kickoffs." - Bulldogs

Jacksonville Jaguars Kicker, Punter & Snapper News

August 22, 2014 - kicker Josh Scobee limited by quad injury
"Scobee kicked a 38-yard first-quarter field goal but was replaced by Kasey Redfern because of a quadriceps injury. Redfern made a 34-yarder in the second quarter but had a 45-yard attempt blocked in the third." - Ocala Star Banner

July 28, 2014 - kicker Josh Scobee goes long
"Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee had a simple message for head equipment manager Jimmy Luck. Keep backing it up. Scobee connected on field goal tries of 50 and 56 yards before asking for one final spot eight yards back. The 32-year-old Scobee then provided one of the highlights of Sunday's practice, drilling a 64-yard field goal. The longest field goal in NFL history is 64 yards, set by Denver's Matt Prater in 2013. 'In times like that when I'm feeling good, I keep on telling Jimmy 'Keep backing it up,' Scobee said. 'I want to see how far back I can go. It was a good way to end it'.... 'I feel great physically,' Scobee said. 'The real challenge is not fatiguing your leg the first few days of camp. I was a little fatigued the last couple of days. The third day, I felt great'." - Florida Times-Union

June 19, 2014 - kicker Kasey Redfern signed
"Wofford kicker Kasey Redfern has signed as a free agent with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Redfern was one of three players invited to participate in the club’s mandatory minicamp this week on a tryout basis. He signed at the conclusion of the minicamp on Thursday afternoon. A native of Jamestown, North Carolina, Redfern handled all the kicking duties for the Terriers his senior season. He was fourth in the Southern Conference in punting with a 42.4 yard average. He led the team in scoring with 44 points, as he was 6-of-10 on field goals and 26-of-28 on extra points. On 46 kickoffs, he averaged 61.6 yards with 19 touchbacks. Following the October 12 game against Elon, he was named the Southern Conference Special Teams Player of the Week." - The Times and Democrat

June 19, 2014 - long snapper Charley Hughlett signed
"Jacksonville announced Thursday it signed former Knights long snapper Charley Hughlett to the 90-man roster. Hughlett made the team after a three-day tryout during the Jaguars' final minicamp this offseason. Hughlett, who played at UCF from 2008-2011 and was named to the all-C-USA second team as a junior and senior, joins former Knights Blake Bortles and Storm Johnson on the Jaguars' roster. Hughlett entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with the Dallas Cowboys in 2012, but was released in August 2012. He signed again with Dallas on Jan. 7, 2013 and was released again May 29, 2013. He was signed by the New England Patriots on March 19, 2014 but was released on May 15." - Orlando Sentinel

June 17, 2014 - punter & snapper tryout at minicamp
"Long snapper Charley Hughlett and punter Kasey Redfern are trying out for the Jaguars." - Profootballrumors

June 5, 2014 - long snapper Trevor Gillette waived
"The Jaguars released reserve long snapper Trevor Gillette to make room on the 90-man roster for Kevin Smith." - Florida Times-Union 

May 17, 2014 - kicker Jeff Budzien & punter Chad Zinchini waived
"The Jaguars shortly after Saturday’s practice announced they had signed two of the 26 workout players....  The team released rookie kicker Jeff Budzien and rookie punter Chad Zinchini to keep the roster at 90." - Jaguars

May 12, 2014 - long snapper Trevor Gillette signed
Following the Draft, the Jaguars signed undrafted free agent, former Rice long-snapper Trevor Gillette.
"2013: Handled deep snaps on punts as a senior... Earned All C-USA honors from league coaches and named to Phil Steele's All America second team... Credited with a pair of tackles on punt coverage and recovered a fumble at UTSA to set up a touchdown for the Owls." - Owls

May 11, 2014 -  signed 
Following the Draft, the Jaguars signed undrafted free agent, former Northwestern kicker Jeff Budzien. See his profile here. 

May 11, 2014 - punter Chad Zinchini signed
Following the Draft, the Jaguars signed undrafted free agent punter Chad Zinchini (Tennessee Tech).
"Zinchini will attend the team’s mini-camp and OTAs (organized team activities) while he is in Jacksonville for his initial stay. Those are workouts without pads and are no-contact practices. 'Right now, I’m down here for about seven weeks,' Zinchini said. 'I have a schedule, but I haven’t had time to look at it yet. We’ve got a lot of paperwork to fill out.' Jacksonville’s OTA days are May 27-29 and June 2, 3, 5, 9, 10, 12 and 13, with mandatory mini-camp slated for June 17-19. But Zinchini said he hasn’t really had time to think about all of it yet, even after watching the draft and learning of his spot at home. 'It’s been absolutely wild,” Zinchini said.... 'About 15 or 20 minutes after the draft, I got a call from the Jaguars and they offered me a training camp spot and I told them I’d talk to my agent,' Zinchini said. 'They ended up talking to my agent first, and my agent called back and said it’s a good spot for me, so we ended up agreeing'.” - The Tennessean

Kentucky Wildcats Kicker, Punter & Snapper News

August 22, 2014 - kicker Austin MacGinnis & punter Landon Foster
Austin MacGinnis and Landon Foster, the University of Kentucky's kicker and punter, both think they have to prove themselves this fall. In MacGinnis' case, it's for the first time. Foster must validate his talent all over again. MacGinnis is charged with replacing Joe Mansour, who hit 12 of 14 field-goal attempts last season. The redshirt freshman has never attempted one in college. Foster, an SEC All-Freshman selection in 2012, will try to recapture that form after struggling through a sophomore slump. Both are approaching it the same way. Said MacGinnis: 'Just go 1 for 1 every time. Whether it was a good make or a bad miss, you've just got to think, 'Next kick, 1 for 1.' Said Foster: 'Obviously I didn't have the year I wanted to have last year, and obviously that motivates you for a little bit, but a certain point you just have to put that behind you. You can't even worry about your last kick, much less your last year'." - Courier-Journal

July 12, 2014 - summer specialists
Kentucky offensive coordinator Neal Brown likes the way UK’s kicking game shapes up going into this season. Kicker Austin MacGinnis of Prattville, Ala., was redshirted last year after being one of the top three ranked kickers in the 2013 recruiting class. 'He kicked in lot of big high school games,' said Brown. 'He was really well thought of coming out of high school. He got several offers once we had been hired but stayed with Kentucky. We were really pleased to get him. We were able to redshirt him last year because of Joe Mansour and now have him for four more years. We are really confident what he can do field-goal wise and he has added strength. He really does a good job with directional kicks on his kickoffs already.' The punter will be junior Landon Foster, who has already punted for two seasons. He averaged 42.9 yards per punt as a freshman — highest ever by a UK freshman — and earned freshman All-America honors. Last year he punted 68 times for a 41.3-yard average and had 15 punts inside the opponent’s 20-yard line after putting 13 inside the 20 as a freshman.” - Vaught's Views

May 28, 2014 - kicker Miles Butler commits
"Paducah Tilghman High School kicker Miles Butler committed to the University of Kentucky as a preferred walk-on in a signing ceremony at PTHS on May 28. Butler finished his career as a kicker with 212 points, the most in PTHS history. He also holds the record for the longest field goal at 49 yards. In addition to playing football, Butler was a varsity starter in soccer and a pitcher/utility player in baseball. He has a 4.0 + GPA, was named Mr. Tilghman, and was selected as the Paducah Sun Teen of the year for 2013-14.... Butler had intended to attend the University of Alabama as a walk-on, but was happy to switch to the University of Kentucky when they offered him a guaranteed spot on the roster as preferred walk-on. He expects to be red-shirted his freshman year, then will have an opportunity to secure an athletic scholarship if he performs well." - West Kentucky Star

April 26, 2014 - Blue/White Spring Game
"kicker Austin MacGinnis cashed a 40-yard field goal on the final play before intermission to make it 24-7." - WKYT

April 25, 2014 - limited spring kicking
"To avoid injuries, UK will have limited kicking situations in the spring game, in fact very little live kicking has been done in spring practices, but new special teams coach Craig Naivar seemed set on the Cats’ placekicker and punter. Two-year starter Landon Foster, who averaged 41.3 yards last season and placed 15 punts inside the opponents’ 20-yard line, will be the Cats’ punter again. Red-shirt freshman Austin MacGinnis, one of the highest rated kickers in the country in 2012, will take over the kicking duties from Joe Mansour. 'It’s Austin’s job; he’s done a really good job,' Naivar said. 'We’ve put him in a couple extreme pressure situations with 19 guys draped around him. It’s not a real scenario, but he likes that. … We haven’t done any live kickoffs, but all spring he’s done really good on his kickoffs'.” -  UK Football

April 21, 2014 - punter Landon Foster
"As part of that desire (and need) to be perfect, Foster and other special teamers have reaped the benefits of Erik Korem’s High Performance program, like the rest of the team has by now too. Foster said his body fat percentage went down to 10 percent (from 15 percent). But for guys like Foster, whose job is to catch a long snap, drop the ball at exactly the right angle and boom it 40 yards down the field, putting on needless pounds of muscle isn’t what Korem is prescribing. Instead, Foster is focusing on hip flexor mobility and quick-twitch muscle work that can help him improve on his – imagine this – specialty. 'Obviously we’re not going to be in the trenches with the linemen so why are we going to be in the weight room squatting 400 or 500 pounds?' he said." - Central Kentucky News