the study of the kicking components within sports

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Jeff Feagles Tributes

On the eve of his official retirement  press conference, we present the following compilation of tweeting tributes to NFL punter Jeff Feagles. Each one of course is limited to no more than 140 characters.

"Congrats to Jeff Feagles on an Amazing career. I was lucky to learn from him while in Seattle and will always be thankful for his help."
Brian Moorman (Buffalo Bills punter)

"Jeff Feagles should be a HOFer. Wish they'd vote punters in."

"My favorite football player. Great guy."
Neil Best (Newsday columnist)

"Jeff Feagles is a class act, the Giants fans are going to miss those angled punts."

"A great man finally hangs it up. Thank you, Jeff Feagles!"
Kimberly Jones (YES reporter)

"Really sad to hear that Giants punter Jeff Feagles is gonna retire. One of the best coffin corner punters in the game today!"

"Jeff Feagles: next stop Canton"

"Feagles is the man!"
Matt Hasselbeck (Seattle Seahawks QB)

"Jeff Feagles you have served a great reign!"

"I'm so upset about Jeff Feagles retiring. The Giants are losing their lone leatherhead."

"If they ever honor Jeff Feagles at a NYG game, I hope the ceremony takes place near the sideline and inside the 5 ... and not at midfield."
Tom Rock (Newsday columnist)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Draft Preview: Rob Maver

The 2010 NFL Draft may have come and gone, however there is still some drafting to be done in Canada. Among the kickers eligible for this year's CFL draft is the University of Guelph's Rob Maver. He is widely considered as the top kicking and punting prospect.

Career Highlights. Maver's profile page on the Gryphons' website:
2009 Senior Season
  • only kicker/punter invited to this year’s E-Camp
  • first team OUA all-star Punter and Kicker
  • finished second in the country in Punting with 41.26 yard average
  • Gryphs’ all-time leading scorer
2008 Junior Season
  • first team OUA all-star Punter and Kicker
  • first team All-Canadian Punter and second team All-Canadian Kicker
2007 Sophomore Season
  • second team OUA all-star Punter
2006 Freshman Season
  • second team OUA all-star Punter 
Highlights Video:

2009: 13 of 14 (92.9%) FGs; 34 of 34 PATs; 5 rouges; 78 points
2008: 18 of 23 (78.3%) FGs; 24 PATs; 5 rouges; 83 points
2007: 15 of 20 (75.0%) FGs; 27 PATs; 3 rouges; 75 points
2006: 11 of 17 (64.7%) FGs; 20 PATs; 1 rouge; 54 points

Back in February, Maver assessed his strengths and discussed his inspirations:
“If I had to choose I would say I am a better Punter. But I am very comfortable doing both. I would love to do both at the pro level. Punting is probably more difficult. Field goal kicking should be the same process every time, whereas punting, you may have to make more adjustments.”
“[Soccer] really served me well. I decided pretty early on to concentrate on kicking.... I modeled myself after [Noel] Prefontaine when he was with Toronto, but watching [Jon] Ryan, he is the most impressive Punter I have ever seen.”
Last month Maver wrote of his E-camp experience:
"After a quick stretch and warm up routine I was ready to go. Coach O’Shea grabbed Kevin Eiben. Kevin Eiben has held for many kickers the Argonauts have had. CFL Director of Officiating Tom Higgins came over and told me how we’d be running the workout and we were off. The workout consisted of several kicks from various distances from both hash marks. To wind down, Mr. Higgins put me through some short kicks to show coaches my elevation, and then we ended with a convert. Like the snappers, I felt I kicked at a high level. Following the kicking session, I re-joined my group to run the 40-yard dash and the shuttle run tests."
Last week he discussed the upcoming draft and beyond:
“It’s a great year. Hamilton is looking for a Canadian punter, Calgary’s looking for a Canadian kicker and Toronto’s looking for a guy to do all three. And you never know what else can happen. Right now, I’m the top-ranked (kicker) on the board and, to be honest, I really couldn’t have written it any better.... My agents and I are pretty certain that it’s going to be one of those three teams,” he said. “Right now, we’re just waiting to find out which one it’s going to be.”
“On Saturday and Sunday, I’m going to be working with a former NFL special teams coach and that’s just to make sure my game is fully polished. Whatever CFL team takes me, they’re going to wind up with a guy who has his game camp ready.... The CFL is definitely an opportunity that’s here right now. I have a great opportunity right now and I’m just going to focus on this all the way up. This isn’t just a one- or two-year gig that I’m looking for. I want to make this a 20-year career. I want to be the next Noel Prefontaine (11 seasons) or the next Lui Passaglia (25 years), so to speak. I want to be a CFL lifer, that’s what I’m committed to doing.”

Monday, April 26, 2010

Rookie Specialist Draftees and Signees

Although three punters were drafted on Saturday as noted below, the majority of the specialist signings occurred in the hours just after the draft (as usual). NFL teams have signed the following rookie specialists as undrafted free agents or invited them to an upcoming rookie minicamp.

Atlanta Falcons
Baltimore Ravens
Carolina Panthers
  • kicker Aaron Pettrey (Ohio State), who will serve as a camp leg and understudy to John Kasay and likely will compete with Todd Carter for a kickoff specialist role
  • punter Blake Haudan (Minnesota)
Chicago Bears
  • long snapper Tom Harrington (Western Michigan) invited to minicamp 
  • punter Desi Cullen (Connecticut) invited to minicamp
  • kicker Mike Salerno (Northern Illinois) invited to minicamp
  • kicker/punter Tom Mante (Yale) invited to minicamp
Cincinnati Bengals
Cleveland Browns
Dallas Cowboys
Indianapolis Colts
  • kicker Brett Swenson (Michigan State), who will serve as a camp leg and understudy to Adam Vinatieri
Jacksonville Jaguars
Kansas City Chiefs
  • punter/kicker Zach Johnson (Eastern Michigan) invited to mimicamp
New England Patriots
  • drafted Michigan punter Zoltan Mesko with the 19th pick in the 5th round... he's the favorite for the job over recently signed Aussie punter David King
New Orleans Saints
New York Giants
  • drafted East Carolina punter Matt Dodge with the 14th pick of the 7th round 
  • the pick gained further explanation when it came to light that veteran punter Jeff Feagles is strongly considering retiring 
  • kicker Austin Signor (Eastern Illinois) invited to minicamp

    San Diego Chargers
    San Francisco 49ers
    • longsnapper Matt Wigley (San Jose State) invited to minicamp
    • punter & kickoff specialist Philip Zavala (San Jose State) invited to minicamp
    Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    • drafted Virginia Tech punter Brent Bowden with the 3rd pick in the 6th round... incumbent punter Sam Paulescu was subsequently released
    • kicker Hunter Lawrence (Texas) will challenge incumbent kicker Connor Barth

    Friday, April 23, 2010

    Draft Preview: Andrew Aguila

    Among the kickers eligible for this year's NFL draft, or signing as an undrafted free agent thereafter, is Central Michigan's Andrew Aguila. He ranks in the top ten in many of the various draft rankings.
    2009 Senior Season
    • named GMAC Bowl Special Teams MVP after converting a school-record five field goals (28, 35, 44, 42, 37) in the 44-41 double-overtime win over Troy
    • named MAC West Division Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance at Michigan State ... made three field goals, including a 42-yarder with three seconds left, and executed an onside-kick to set up the game-winning field goal against the Spartans
    • named CMU's Most Valuable Specialist
    2008 Junior Season
    • All-MAC third team selection
    • made at least one field goal in all 13 games
    • hit three extra points and two field goals, including a 40-yarder in overtime, in a 33-30 win at Northern Illinois
    • converted a season-long 48-yard field goal in the fourth quarter of CMU’s 37-34 win at Indiana
    2007 Sophomore Season
    • Converted a school-record 60 point-after attempts
    • booted a season-long 51-yard field goal at Ball State
    2006 Freshman Season (at Compton California Junior College)
    • Earned first team All-America, all-state and all-conference accolades
    • named team MVP
    • converted 15-of-19 field goals, with a long of 47
    High School
    • Four-year letterman
    • holds every kicking and punting school record
    • garnered all-league first team and all-state second team honors as a kicker
    • also lettered three times in both baseball and soccer
    Specialist Combine Video:

    2009: 17 of 23 (73.9%) FGs; 55 of 57 PATs; 106 points
    2008: 16 of 21 (76.2%) FGs; 44 of 46 PATs; 92 points
    2007: 9 of 14 (64.3%) FGs; 60 of 64 PATs; 87 points

    Heading into his senior year, Aguila had obtained a comfort level with his role:
    “I just take care of each kick as it comes. Every point counts. You never know when a field goal in the first quarter is going to make the difference in the game.... Field goals are starting to come a lot more fluidly. I go out there knowing that every kick counts, every time.”
    Two weeks later, he demonstrated that comfort with a big finish in the upset win over Michigan State. He noted:
    “The onside was the biggest kick. The field goal is going to be remembered, but the onside was executed perfectly.”
    His coach, Butch Jones commented on the same topic:
    “I can’t say enough about Andrew Aguila. That last-second field goal seemed like an eternity. I think it took about 20 minutes to make a 5-second kick.”

    Thursday, April 22, 2010

    Draft Preview: Jeff Schebler

    Among the kickers eligible for this year's NFL draft, or signing as an undrafted free agent thereafter, is Wisconson-Whitewater's Jeff Schebler. He ranks in the top ten in many of the various draft rankings.

    Career Highlights. Schebler's profile page on the Warhawks' website:
    2009 Senior Season
    • 470 career points is the most of any place-kicker in NCAA history at any level
    • recipient of inaugural Fred Mitchell Award
    • Gagliardi Trophy finalist
    • unanimous First Team All-Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference for the fourth straight year
    • AFCA First Team All-American
    • scored 10 points in November 21 Division III playoff win over Lakeland to become the NCAA’s all-time point leader among place-kickers, passing the previous mark of 433 set by Art Carmody of Louisville
    • holds the school career records for PAT’s made (232), PAT’s attempted (243), FG’s made (80) and FG’s attempted (93)
    High School
    • All-State Soccer, All-State Football, All-Area Football
    Highlights Video:

    2009: 14 of 18 (77.7%) FGs; 83 of 85 PATs; 125 points
    2008: 22 of 29 (75.9%) FGs; 58 of 64 PATs; 124 points
    2007: 21 of 27 (77.7%) FGs; 36 of 37 PATs; 99 points
    2006: 18 of 21 (85.7%) FGs; 68 of 70 PATs; 122 points

    In December, Schebler commented on the career numbers he accrued:
    "That all still seems a little unreal. I've had people ask me about it, but honestly I haven't spent a lot of time thinking about individual records. It's something I'm sure I'll appreciate more in a few years when I have a chance to look back and reflect a bit on the big picture.... It hasn't hit me yet what I've accomplished. I'm just out there trying to get points for our team. It's crazy to think about - the numbers and stuff. When I came here, I didn't really know how things would work out.... Getting the chance to play in 60 college games is the thing that impresses me the most. Most college players don't get that chance. I've been fortunate to be part of great teams. Having the chance to play in 60 games and four national championship games, that's pretty special."
    In February, Schebler discussed his NFL prospects:
    "I'll keep working hard because you never know. A couple of teams have called and I'm going to participate in Pro Day at (Wisconsin) March 10, but if it nothing happens, I've got some interviews lined up for a real job."
    Regarding his Pro Day workout last month, Schlebler commented:
    "I thought I was hitting the ball well. I missed a couple. On the 55-yarder, I thought I had the distance, it just went right."
    Also in attendance was former Whitewater coach Bob Berezowitz who noted:
    “I think he’s done an excellent job of preparing and he’s put in the time and effort. He’s shown he has the consistency, but it all depends how you handle the pressure.... He’s been up to 55 yards, and I think he has the leg strength and that kind of accuracy."

    Draft Preview: Alex Steigerwald

    Among the kickers eligible for this year's NFL draft, or signing as an undrafted free agent thereafter, is Toledo's Alex Steigerwald. He ranks in the top ten in many of the various draft rankings.

    Excerpts from Steigerwald's profile page on the Rocket's website:
    2009 Senior Season
    • selected to the Mid-American Conference Third Team
    • hit a career-long 50-yarder vs. Colorado
    2008 Junior Season
    • Hit a then career-best 48-yarder in 13-10 win over Michigan that hit the cross bar and bounced over...Named MAC West Division Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance vs. UM...Also earned honorable mention honors for Lou Groza Award National Kicker of the Week
    • Missed a 27-yarder vs. Ball State on Oct. 4, breaking a string of 23 straight field goals, beating the previous MAC record of 19 set by UT’s Jason Robbins (2004-05)
    • Made 3-of-3 field goals vs. FIU...All three FGs were longer than 40 yards, including a then career-long 47-yarder
    2007 Sophomore Season
    • Named second-team All-MAC
    • Hit a game-winning 40-yard field goal with no time on the clock in a 43-40 win over Ohio
    2006 Freshman Season
    • Stepped in as a freshman as the team’s placekicker for field goals and extra points
    • Scored a touchdown on a 19-yard run off a fake field goal against Akron 
    High School
    • Made 19-of-21 field goal attempts in two seasons, including 7-of-7 field goals as a senior
    • Connected on 12-of-14 field goals as a junior, with a career long of 47 yards
    • Earned first-team All-Northeast Lakes District, All-Cuyahoga County and second-team all-state as a senior
    • Made second-team all-state as a punter as a junior, averaging 42.9 yards per punt
    MAC Player of the Week:

    2009: 12 of 16 (75.0%) FGs; 40 of 41 PATs; 76 points
    2008: 16 of 21 (76.2%) FGs; 29 of 31 PATs; 77 points
    2007: 13 of 13 (100.0%) FGs; 44 of 47 PATs; 83 points
    2006: 7 of 8 (87.5%) FGs; 30 of 31 PATs; 51 points

    Prior to the 2008 season, Toledo coach Tom Amstutz said of Steigerwald:
    "I feel confident when Alex takes the field. The way he performs in practice and when he's out there kicking, he does a good job."

    "Alex is a spark of life and a lot of fun. It helps an old grouchy coach have a smile every day when I go out on the practice field. Coaching kickers is more like coaching surfers. It's a little different style of coaching approach."
    Steigerwald discussed some general kicking matters:
    “You go in not thinking about how many attempts you’re going to have or all that; you just go in and know when the coach calls your number that you’re ready to go in and kick your  field goals when they’re needed.... The streak was always in the back of my head; it was never a big thing. I was just out there doing my job. It’s good to get the miss out during the season and come back strong. It’s always about looking at the next kick.”
    “[Playing professionally] is on my mind and it would be nice to continue on kicking, but it’s not a big deal. I know I had a great four years at the University of Toledo kicking for the Rockets.”

    Wednesday, April 21, 2010

    Draft Preview: Josh Arauco

    Among the kickers eligible for this year's NFL draft, or signing as an undrafted free agent thereafter, is Arkansas State's Josh Arauco. He ranks in the top ten in many of the various draft rankings.
    2009 Senior Season
    • selected Second Team All-Sun Belt Conference
    • ended his career as the ASU and Sun Belt Conference all-time leader in field goals made (58) and points by kicking (288)
    • kicked a season-high four field goals, which tied his career high, against Florida Atlantic
    2008 Junior Season
    • Lou Groza Award Finalist
    • Four-time Sun Belt Conference Special Teams Player of the Week
    • Made school-record 15 field goals in a row
    • Became ASU’s all-time leader for field goals made (44), which is also the second most in Sun Belt Conference history
    2007 Sophomore Season
    • Kicked a career-best 45-yard field goal against Texas and made three field goals from at least 40 yards out
    2006 Freshman Season
    • Sporting News Honorable Mention Freshman All-American Team
    • Ranked second in the nation in field goals made among all freshmen kickers
    High School
    • Two-year letterman at Grand Prairie High School
    Video Profile:

    2009: 14 of 17 (82.4%) FGs; 27 of 31 PATs; 69 points
    2008: 17 of 19 (89.5%) FGs; 37 of 38 PATs; 88 points
    2007: 15 of 23 (65.2%) FGs; 34 of 34 PATs; 79 points
    2006: 12 of 16 (75.0%) FGs; 16 of 19 PATs; 52 points

    Prior to his senior year, Arauco discussed his preseason preparation and goals:

    "A major part of my success last season was building confidence in myself and getting my leg strength up so I could kick field goals of decent-enough length ... but I pride accuracy over leg strength any day. I will do accuracy drills over strengthening exercises.... I'm just doing what John Arcey, our strength and conditioning coach, wants. The major part of my focus last summer was to continue to make myself a weapon for this team. I didn't' reach my goal last summer distance wise, but I'm getting there." 
    Steve Roberts, the Red Wolves' head coach and special teams coordinator, has watched Arauco evolve significantly the last five years:
    "Josh is an incredible story. Maybe the worst college kicker that I've ever seen as a freshman. Lacked the leg strength, lacked the timing and the consistency. Everything. But he probably has the best work ethic of anybody that I've ever been around, and he worked himself into being one of the best kickers in college football."

    Draft Preview: Mike Salerno

    Among the kickers eligible for this year's NFL draft, or signing as an undrafted free agent thereafter, is Northern Illinois' Mike Salerno. He ranks in the top ten in many of the various draft rankings.

    Excerpts from Salerno's profile page on the Huskies' website:
    2009 Senior Season
    • selected to the Mid-American Conference Second Team
    • led all league kickers in scoring and ranked third in field goals and was also the top kickoff man in the league in terms of distance with a 63.2 yard average
    • also served as the Huskies' punter in the last half of the season
    2008 Junior Season
    • An All-MAC second team selection by both the conference and Phil Steele's Magazine, and honored as NIU's special teams MVP. 
    • Led the MAC with 16 touchbacks and a 64.9 yards/kickoff average
    • Earned MAC Special Teams Player of the Week honors after booting the game-winning 30-yard field goal with 11.9 seconds left against Bowling Green. Made 3-of-4 field goals versus the Falcons, including a career-long 52-yarder that tied the school record for the longest field goal. 
    • Hit a 25-yard field goal with 19 seconds left in regulation to send the CMU game to overtime.
    • kicked two perfect onside kicks versus the Chippewas which NIU recovered, spurring the Huskies' comeback
    2007: Sat out due to NCAA transfer regulations

    2006 Sophomore Season & 2005 Freshman Season
    • played for Winona State from 2005-06. Made 79-of-81 extra points during his WSU his career. Made 24-of-36 field goals. 
    • holds the Winona State records for most field goals in a season, most field goals in a game and most extra points made in a row 
    High School
    • Consensus all-area kicker as a senior earned Associated Press and Chicago Tribune all-state accolades
    • Made 9-of-12 field goals and 28-of-30 extra points his senior season while averaging 41 yards per punt
    • Hit 9-of-9 field goals and 12-of-13 extra points as a junior
    Onside Kickoff Specialist:

    2009: 19 of 25 (76.0%) FGs; 39 of 41 PATs; 96 points
    2008: 18 of 24 (75.0%) FGs; 34 of 34 PATs; 88 points

    Back in September, Salerno discussed his golf game and its applicability to kicking:
    "That's why I hit the ball so far. I throw my hips through and have a very fast swing speed. Same thing with kicking. I have a very high leg speed.... I'm not strong. I have a lot of leg speed and my leg just extends back farther than most guys, I'd say. I think that's from the flexibility I work on."
    In October he discussed how his summer work was paying dividends:
    "Last year went well and I'm just looking to step up and hopefully cut down the misses to as low as possible. That's why I spent the whole summer here, working out with the team. I had a special running program going, more specifically geared toward the kicking game to help me out. I worked with Nolan (Owen), our snapper, and Ryan Morris, who is holding for me. That way we have more of a mesh."
    "[Kickoffs] is something I worked on during the summer to try to improve, because I have a shot to hopefully play at the next level, and kickoffs are something that sets kickers apart."

    Draft Preview: Leigh Tiffin

    Postscript: following the rookie minicamp tryouts, Tiffin was offered a contract by the Cleveland Browns.

    Among the kickers eligible for this year's NFL draft, or signing as an undrafted free agent thereafter, is Alabama's Leigh Tiffin. He ranks in the top five in the majority of the various draft rankings.
    2009 Senior Season
    • led the nation in field goals made at 2.56 per game
    • semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award
    • became the Tide's all-time leading scorer, passing Philip Doyle against LSU
    • Mississippi: Named the Lou Groza "Star of the Week" for his efforts against the Rebels ... connected on a career-best five field goals (5 for 5) with kicks of 25, 21, 22, 21 and 31 yards ... scored 16 of the Crimson Tide's 22 points
    • Tennessee: He was named a Lou Groza Award "Star of the Week" for the third time this season after hitting on 4-of-4 field goals and scoring all 12 points in a 12-10 win over Tennessee ... connected from 38, 50, 22 and 49 yards to lift the Crimson Tide to victory.
    2008 Junior Season
    • selected as a semifinalist for the Lou Groza National Place-Kicker Award
    • Clemson: Tiffin was named a Lou Groza Award "Star of the Week" after booting four field goals in Alabama's 34-10 win over Clemson ... connected on a career-long 54-yarder that was the third-longest kick in school history and the second-longest without the benefit of a tee
    • Sugar Bowl vs. Utah: nailed his second 50-plus-yard field goal with a 52-yarder
    2007 Sophomore Season
    • Handled place-kicking and kickoff duties for the team all season after earning the starting nod in fall camp
    • had the best game of his career against Mississippi State... connected on all four field-goal attempts against MSU, including two over 50 yards to become the first kicker since his father, Van, to make two field goals of over 50-yards in a game
    • converted all three of his field goals against Georgia, including a 42-yarder in overtime to give the Tide the lead
    2006 Freshman Season
    • served as a backup place-kicker and played in five games after an injury to the starter Jamie Christensen 
    High School
    • made 4-of-5 field goals as a senior at Muscle Shoals High School
    • hit a long of 50 yards as a prep standout
    • recorded touchbacks on 95 percent of his kickoffs
    Interview and Highlight Clips:

    2009: 30 of 35 (85.7%) FGs; 42 of 46 PATs; 132 points
    2008: 20 of 29 (69.0%) FGs; 46 of 47 PATs; 106 points
    2007: 25 of 34 (73.5%) FGs; 36 of 36 PATs; 111 points
    2006: 8 of 13 (61.5%) FGs; 12 of 13 PATs; 36 points

    In addition to the typical pressure of kicking for a prominent football program, Tiffin also had to contend with the continual comparisons to his father Van Tiffin, who had also kicked for Alabama, including "The Kick". Prior to his freshman year Leigh commented:
    “Sometimes it gets on my nerves when people compare me to my dad. It’s like people give me no credit for my accomplishments. But it doesn’t put any extra pressure on me.... I’m proud of everything my dad did at Alabama, but I expect a lot of myself, too. I told him that I expect to do as well -- or better -- than he did."
    Early this year, just prior to the BCS Championship Game, Leigh discussed his father and their kicking relationship:
    "He's the guy who taught me how to kick, but I wouldn't really call him a coach. We obviously talk about things and there's nobody better to talk to than somebody like a parent who knows the situation you're in, but now we're more like peers as opposed to a coach/student relationship."
    "I think a lot of guys don’t come from a high-pressure environment that go to the NFL. They may come from a small school. They may come from a lot of different situations. I think I would be used to the pressure that you play under in the NFL."

    "You've got guys who are really natural and guys who are really technical. I’m probably somewhere in the middle."

    Tuesday, April 20, 2010

    Draft Preview: Joshua Shene

    Among the kickers eligible for this year's NFL draft, or signing as an undrafted free agent thereafter, is Mississippi's Joshua Shene. He ranks in the top ten in many of the various draft rankings.

    Excerpts from Shene's profile page on the Ole Miss website:
    2009 Senior Season
    • Competed in the 2010 East-West Shrine Game
    • Invited to participate in the 2010 College Football All-Star Challenge
    • Ranks second at Ole Miss in career scoring (310), field goals (57), field goal attempts (75), PATs made (139) and PATs attempted (142) 
    • at Vanderbilt (10/3): Had connected on 88 straight PATs before a block 
    • vs. LSU (11/21): Scored a career-high 13 points on a career-best four field goals
    2008 Junior Season
    • Earned first team All-SEC honors from the Associated Press
    • Named one of 20 semifinalists for the Lou Groza Award
    2007 Sophomore Season
    • vs. Florida (9/22): Notched first two career tackles
    2006 Freshman Season
    • Earned first team Freshman All-America honors from 
    • vs. Northwestern State (11/4): Connected on career-long 52-yarder 
    High School
    • Overall Kicking Champion at the 2006 National Punting and Kicking Competition Expo
    • Rated No. 2 kicker in nation by 
    • Made 8-of-9 field goals with a long of 46 yards, was 100% on PAT's, recorded 33 touchbacks as a senior

    For more details on Shene's prep career, see his profile.

    2009: 15 of 20 (75.0%) FGs; 43 of 45 PATs; 88 points
    2008: 17 of 21 (78.6%) FGs; 52 of 52 PATs; 103 points
    2007: 11 of 17 (64.7%) FGs; 24 of 25 PATs; 57 points
    2006: 14 of 17 (82.4%) FGs; 20 of 20 PATs; 62 points

    Prior to this year's East-West Shrine Game, Shene commented on a variety of topics:
    • I’m pretty excited [about playing in Shrine Game]. I found out I guess about a week and a half, two weeks ago that I was going. Head  coach had actually talked to me after the Cotton Bowl and he was in contact with I guess the people from the East-West Game, so then I got selected. There’s only two people from my school here, so out of the 30 or so seniors that we had so I’m definitely excited to be here.
    • My main goal was just to come in here and kick well – which I have done – and after that just take it to the game and see where it goes from there. Everything I’ve wanted to do so far, I’ve done.
    • [The Cotton Bowl] was really intense. It was really fun having my last college game, playing a team from my home state that a bunch of people were asking me about. That was great. Two Cotton Bowls in a row – that’s pretty big especially for my school who hadn’t been to a bowl game until last year in like six years. So to go to two big bowls in a row, that was huge.
    • I think I’m just going to be back at school. I’m still enrolled in some classes. Just going to train there, go to the pro day we have at our school and hopefully I can get a tryout with a team. If not, then I’ll certainly keep trying, we’ll just see what happens.
    • If I could look in the crystal ball, next January I would hopefully be with a team. That’s what I want to do more than anything. I’ll work really hard at it, but if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen. I’ll still be happy with whatever it is I’m doing.

    Draft Preview: Aaron Pettrey

    Postscript: Pettrey was signed by the Carolina Panthers after the draft.

    Among the kickers eligible for this year's NFL draft, or signing as an undrafted free agent thereafter, is Ohio State's Aaron Pettrey. He ranks in the top five in many of the various draft rankings.

    Excerpts from Pettrey's profile page on Buckeyes website:
    2009 Senior Season
    • played in Texas vs. The Nation All-star Game
    • missed the last part of the regular season with torn knee ligament
    2008 Junior Season
    • 54-yard field goal against Youngstown State, the fourth longest in Ohio Stadium history
    • field goals of 51 and 44 yards in the Fiesta Bowl
    2007 Sophomore Season
    • handled the Buckeyes’ kickoffs
    • hampered by a hip flexor strain during first half of season
    2006 Freshman Season
    • converted his last five field goals, including a 51-yarder against Indiana and a 50-yarder at Illinois
    • none of his 61 kickoffs in the regular season went out of bounds and 35 were not brought out of the end zone 
    High School
    • played quarterback and handled the kicking and punting duties
    • set one state record with a 58-yard field goal and another for career QB completion percentage
    2009 Training Camp Interview:

    2009: 14 of 20 (70.0%) FGs; 30 of 31 PATs; 72 points
    2008: 7 of 8 (87.5%) FGs; 1 of 1 PATs; 22 points
    2006: 8 of 11 (72.7%) FGs; 55 of 58 PATs; 79 points

    Despite his injury at the end of October last year, Pettrey was kicking again in January 2010:
    "At the end of the Nation practice, Ohio State kicker Aaron Pettrey got a chance to show his stuff by kicking field goals as long as 47 yards. He was true from that distance, with plenty of room to spare -- and the wind at his back. He tore a knee ligament covering a kick against New Mexico during the 2009 season, but scouts know he's one of the top two kicking prospects because he consistently hits down on ball, getting high trajectory with the leg strength to kick off and connect on 50-plus field goals."
    During the NFL Scouting Combine at the end of February, Pettrey made the following comments:
    "This has been horrible, going through all this medical stuff. We were doing physicals all day - they were twisting (the knee), jerking it, making sure Dr. (Chris) Kaeding (who performed the surgery) did a good job. And then I just got done with an MRI, so long day.... Oh yeah, I was very excited (to be invited), because I know for me to have a chance of being drafted and being the man, I had to go against the best guys."

    "I've been through a lot, I think it's kind of prepared me. Having the job, losing the job, being hurt, getting hurt again and having to come back from it hopefully, it's made me stronger and helped me out at the next level."

    Monday, April 19, 2010

    Draft Preview: Garrett Lindholm

    Postscript: Lindholm was signed by the Atlanta Falcons following the draft.

    Among the kickers eligible for this year's NFL draft, or more likely signing as an undrafted free agent thereafter, is Tarleton State's Garrett Lindholm. He ranks in the top ten in many of the various draft rankings.

    Excerpts from Lindholm's profile page on the Texans' website:
    2009 Senior Season
    • kicked a 64 yard FG on the final play of regulation to tie the game against Texas A&M-Kingsville... tied for third longest FG in NCAA history
    • Finalist for Fred Mitchell Outstanding Place-Kicker Award
    2008 Junior Season
    • Named Frist Team All-LSC South Division
    • Had 64 kickoffs, average of 62.9 yards per kickoff, with 25 touchbacks
    2007 Sophomore Season
    • Kicked off all 77 times, averaged 60.8 yards per kickoff, recorded 18 touchbacks with only two out of bounds
    2006 Freshman Season
    • Kicked off 57 times, averaged 59.2 yards per kick with six out of bounds 
    High School
    • Named first team all-district kicker as a junior and senior
    • Named first all-district punter as a senior
    • Named honorable mention academic all-state as a senior
    Kicking Compilation Video:

    2009: 15 of 18 (83.3%) FGs; 43 PATs; 88 points
    2008: 11 of 18 (61.1%) FGs; 39 PATs; 72 points

    Lindholm improved his draft stock with a strong Pro day showing:
    "With North Texas linebacker Tobe Nwigwe sidelined because of a foot injury, that left the door open for kicker Garrett Lindholm to take center stage at the school’s pro day. And that’s just what Lindholm did in front of 13 NFL teams by putting on an impressive performance. Lindholm (5-foot-7 5/8, 185 pounds), who made a 64-yard field goal in a game last season (third longest in NCAA history), connected on three of four from 60 yards with a 10 MPH wind. Against the wind, his best kick made was from 42 yards. On kickoffs against the wind, Lindholm booted the ball 64, 65 and 60 yards with good hang time. He looked very good overall. All together, eight North Texas players worked out, while nine others joined them. But the kicker was the star." – Gil Brandt, 
    In a recent interview, Lindholm responded as follows on various topics:
    • I always thought I would make it to the NFL, even as a little kid because I was faster and more competitive than the older kids I played with. My Mom has a recording of me saying I’m going to play football in the NFL when I was around 5. Ever since then, my mind hasn’t changed, but the position I thought I’d be playing has.
    • I would say it’s mostly the Offensive linemen who gripe the most about kickers because they are only jealous that they aren’t kickers. I’m not your average kicker though; I work hard every day and am just as fast and strong as most the guys on the team. Plus, I made 15 to 20 touchdown saving tackles since I’ve been here on kickoffs alone.
    • Distance hasn’t ever been a problem for me; it’s just controlling and making the right contact that matters now. Yes, I could have made those kicks my freshman year, but my leg has increased in strength as well. Other players watched me make a 74 yarder and hit the cross bar twice in a row from 75 my freshman year as well.
    • I am actually a very talented soccer player and I had the opportunity to play in college, but passed it up to play football. I think most good kickers now days started off as soccer players. So, yeah the skill must translate.
    • I played outside linebacker, corner, and safety on defense and running back and receiver in high school. I mostly started at safety in high school, but would drop down in passing situation to linebacker to mirror the tail back. I didn’t play much offense, but was the punt returner and backup kickoff returner.
    • I hit one game winner last year with 3 seconds from 55 yards. To me it was just another kick and I had full faith in my snapper and holder, because they were the best. It was pretty exciting because we came back in the fourth quarter when nobody thought we could. It was pretty awesome to watch it sail between the uprights as time expired.
    • I’m a fan of each and every kicker, because they are where I want to be. I enjoy watching Jay Feely and Garrett Hartley kick because they look and kick similar to me, but watching Billy Cundiff kick from feet away in person made me want to be more fluid like him because he makes it look effortless. Maybe if I get in the NFL I could hopefully persuade some fans to wear my jersey.

    Sunday, April 18, 2010

    Draft Preview: Hunter Lawrence

    Postscript: Lawrence was signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the draft.

    Among the kickers eligible for this year's NFL draft, or signing as an undrafted free agent thereafter, is the Texas Longhorn's Hunter Lawrence. He ranks in the top five in the majority of the various draft rankings.

    Excerpts from Lawrence's profile page on Longhorns website:
    2009 Senior Season
    • his .865 field goal accuracy ranks first all-time on UT's career list
    • his .992 PAT accuracy ranks first all-time on UT's career list
    • Lou Groza Award semifinalist
    • named third-team All-American by The Associated Press
    • 126 points are a UT single-season record for a place-kicker and ranks fourth overall
    • made 3-of-3 on FGs, including a career-long 49-yarder, and went 6-of-6 on PATs for a career-high 15 points versus Kansas
    • hit a 46-yard field goal as time expired to win the Big 12 Championship game versus No. 21 Nebraska
    2008 Junior Season
    • tabbed second-team All-Big 12 by the league's coaches
    • named Lou Groza Star of the Week after connecting on 3-of-3 FGs (26, 33, 28) and 4-of-4 PATs against No. 1 Oklahoma
    • made a 27-yard field goal and went 3-of-3 on PATs against No. 10 Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl
    2007 Sophomore Season
    • kicked off 91 times for 5,526 yards (60.7 ypk) and 16 touchbacks
    2006 Freshman Season
    • Appeared in the final seven games of the regular season while handling the kickoff duties
    • tallied 42 kickoffs for 2,511 yards (59.8 ypk) and 15 touchbacks
    High School
    • two-time all-state selection
    • connected on 32-of-44 FGs (.727) and 63-of-70 PATs (.900) in his final two prep seasons
    • earned first-team 4A all-state by The Associated Press as a senior
    • connected on four field goals during an 18-16 win over New Braunfels in the state playoffs his junior year
    • honor roll student and National Honor Society Member
    The Big Kick:

    2009: 24 of 27 (88.9%) FGs; 61 of 62 PATs; 133 points
    2008: 10 of 12 (83.3%) FGs; 60 of 60 PATs; 90 points

    Prior to the BCS Championship Game at the beginning of the year, Lawrence discussed his Texas career:
    “This place is pretty intense and it took me awhile to get used to it. You have to put in the work to win the job. You can’t just walk in here and get stuff handed to you. There’s a lot of work involved.”

    [Ryan Bailey]’s a heck of a kicker and we’ve competed back and forth over the years. We kind of pushed each other to keep getting better and better. And after having done it for so many years, it’s made me better.... He made a lot and I made a lot. Neither one of us missed too many in two-a-days. It could have gone either way. He was kicking really well and so was I. Both of us were only one or two kicks away when it all ended up.

    I’ve probably been more nervous in some practices than I have in games. But that’s a good thing. That pressure being kept on you makes it all seem game-like when you finally get the chance in the game.”

    Saturday, April 17, 2010

    Draft Preview: Brett Swenson

    Postscript: Swenson was signed by the Indianapolis Colts after the draft.

    Among the kickers eligible for this year's NFL draft, or signing as an undrafted free agent thereafter, is Michigan State's Brett Swenson. He ranks in the top five in the majority of the various draft rankings.

    Excerpts from Swenson's profile page on Spartans website:
    2009 Senior Season
    • one of 20 semifinalists for the Lou Groza Award
    • three-year letterman is MSU's all-time leader in field goals (70), points scored (368) and extra points (158)... his 368 points rank first among all active players in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision and his 70 career field goals and 154 career extra points rank third
    • the 70 career field goals also rank fourth in Big Ten history... he also ranks among the all-time Big Ten leaders in kick scoring (second), total points (fifth) and extra points (seventh)
    • tied a school record with 76 straight extra-point attempts (spanning from Northwestern 2007 to Notre Dame 2009)
    • named Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week after connecting on all four of his field-goal attempts at Purdue, including a 21-yard game-winner as the Spartans rallied from an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit for a 40-37 victory over the Boilermakers... it marked his third career game-winning field goal (2006 vs. Northwestern; 2008 vs. Wisconsin)... hit a pair of career-long 52-yarders
    2008 Junior Season
    • became just the third kicker in Spartan history to reach the 100-point milestone in a season (Dave Rayner, 2003-04; Paul Edinger, 1999)
    • named Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week on three occasions, scoring 10 points vs. Iowa, 13 vs. Northwestern and 13 vs. Wisconsin
    • after missing his first attempt of the 2008 season in the opener at California, converted a school-record 15 consecutive field goals, breaking the mark previously held by Edinger (13, 1998)
    • went 4-for-4 on field-goal attempts vs. Wisconsin, hitting the game-winner from 44 yards out with seven seconds left, as the Spartans rallied from an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit for a 25-24 win
    2007 Sophomore Season
    • his 53 PATs set a Spartan single-season record, breaking the mark previously held by Morten Andersen (52 made in 1978)
    2006 Freshman Season
    • Named first-team Freshman All-American by Scripps/Football Writers Association of America, The Sporting News, and 
    • presented the MSU Downtown Coaches Club Award as the outstanding special teams player .
    • named one of the Lou Groza Award's Top Three Stars of the Week after his 28-yard field goal with 13 seconds left gave Michigan State a 41-38 victory at Northwestern, completing the greatest comeback in NCAA I-A history as the Spartans rallied from a 35-point third-quarter deficit 
    High School
    • Ranked among the nation's top five kickers by (No. 4) and (No. 4)
    • Class 5A second-team all-state selection in 2005 by the Florida Sports Writers Association
    • his prep career totals include 16-of-22 field goals (.727), 77-of-79 PATs (.975) and 76 touchbacks
    • member of the National Society of High School Scholars staff competition:

    2009: 19 of 22 (86.4%) FGs; 44 of 45 PATs; 101 points
    2008: 22 of 28 (78.6%) FGs; 34 of 34 PATs; 100 points
    2007: 15 of 22 (68.2%) FGs; 53 of 54 PATs; 98 points
    2006: 15 of 19 (78.9%) FGs; 33 of 33 PATs; 78 points

    Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio said of Swenson:
    “Brett Swenson had a remarkable career here at Michigan State, completely rewriting the record book. You begin to appreciate what Brett accomplished here when you look at the great kickers who preceded him: Morten Andersen, Paul Edinger, John Langeloh and the list goes on and on. He was almost a unanimous selection as our team MVP and that speaks volumes.... He made so many clutch kicks throughout his career that I trusted him explicitly when the game was on the line. Brett just didn’t rush himself in those situations. He got himself prepared on the sideline, so he was extremely focused and confident when he came into kick. In my opinion, Brett was the finest placekicker in the country last season because of his accuracy and mental toughness.”
    At the Spartans Pro Day, Swenson made the following comments:
    "Between the Combine and the Senior Bowl, I’ve met with just about all the [NFL] teams. Obviously, certain teams need kickers, others don’t; but I feel like I’ve had some strong meetings, and I guess you really don’t know, but some went strong, and I guess we’ll find out a month from now if anyone liked me....
    A lot of them [scouts] have good things to say about me. I think it’s been strong. I’m happy with what I’ve heard and the way I’ve been performing. I’m just going to continue to get better. There’s always room for improvement, and that’s what my focus is....
    Between my lifting and changing form, I’ve been hitting the ball very well [on kickoffs]. I’m very satisfied with where I am, but obviously, I can still do better. At the Combine, I think I showed that to teams, and I’ll continue to do things to prove that my leg is there. I was happy with how I performed, and that’s really what it comes down to."