the study of the kicking components within sports

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Big Kickers on Campus, 2012 week 5

A summary of notable kicking during the fifth week of the 2012 college football season:

Senior kicker Casey Clarke hit field goals of 20, 34, 37, 52 & 41 yards to provide all the scoring for Campbellsville in their 15-14 win over Kentucky Christian.
"Everyone did it, the offense and defense … I have the simple job, just kick the ball. I'm happy we finally won. I couldn't bear to lose again."
Senior kicker Brett Maher's 41 yard field goal at the 9:41 mark in the 4th quarter proved to be the game winner as Nebraska won 30-27 over Wisconsin.

Senior kicker Anthony Fernandez made a 37-yard field goal with 9:07 left in the game to give Langston a 17-14 win over Southern Nazarene.
"Our team hasn't been down or anything like that. We've played some good teams, and we've lost some tough games. But this is a big confidence boost for us."
Senior kicker Freddy Cortez hit a 25 yard field goal with six seconds remaining to give Kent State a 45-43 win over Ball State.
Senior kicker Greg Langer made a 33 yard field goal with 19 seconds left in the game to give Robert Morris a 31-28 win over Lafayette.
"I was focusing on making sure I kicked it right down the middle. I wanted to make sure I kicked it high enough and get it over the line. This feeling couldn’t be better."
Freshman kicker Ben Hurley’s 34 yard field goal in double overtime gave Grand View a 29-26 win over St. Ambrose.

Senior kicker Charlie Leventry made a 20 yard field goal with  lift Duquesne 24-21 over St. Francis (PA).
“I was more upset about the first field goal I made than the one I missed. The first field goal I made, I didn’t hit it that well. I had some bad contact. And the field goal I missed, it was just my follow-through.”
Senior kicker Jake Peery hit a 22 yard field goal as time expired to give Lehigh a 24-21 win over Fordham.

Junior kicker Cairo Santos tied the Tulane team record for longest field goal with a 54 yarder during their 63-10 loss to Louisiana-Monroe.
"I knew we were down in the game so every point was important for us. I told Ryan Rome when we got to the spot on the field, 'Hey man to tie the school record let's get a good one.'... I just had such a good feeling about the kick ... perfect snap, perfect hold, perfect operation. It was amazing, one of the best balls I've ever hit in my life."
Senior kicker James McFadden's 33 yard field goal in overtime gave Widener a 40-37 win over Lebanon Valley.

Freshman kicker Austin Lopez accounted for all of San Jose State's scoring (field goals of 29, 19, 32 & 43 yards) in their 12-0 shutout of Navy

"I feel good going on the field every time I'm called on because I feel my team supports me and knows I am going to make it. They have confidence me.... The last one was most important because it put us up by two scores."
Freshman kicker Gavin Voss hit a 41-yard field goal in overtime to give St. Joseph's (IN) a 24-21 over Quincy.

If we missed someone that should be on the above list, please let us know!

Friday, September 28, 2012

NFL Week Four: Thursday Phil Dawson & Justin Tucker Reunion

During last night's 23-16 win by Baltimore over Cleveland, Brown's kicker Phil Dawson made three lengthy field goals (50, 51 & 52 yards). In doing so he entered the record books, now tied for the most 50+ yard field goals in one game. He joins Morten Andersen, Neil Rackers, Kris Brown, Connor Barth, Sebastian Janikowski & Josh Scobee. Dawson noted afterward:
"Playing on this field-turf absolutely saved us. If we were playing at home it would have been very hard. But this Field Turf gives you a consistent field."
Ravens' rookie kicker Justin Tucker made a 45 yard field goal, but missed a 47 yard attempt wide right - his first miss of the season after having made eight straight to start his NFL career.
"I’m not about excuses. I don’t think anybody around here is. So what I’ll do is look at the film, see if I did anything particularly different, look at it with Randy [Brown, the Ravens’ kicking consultant] and Jerry [Rosburg, special teams coordinator] and evaluate it and go from there. But it is what it is. It’s hard to be perfect and that’s what we’re all striving for....

In this division, there’s always going to be weather. We’re in September and experiencing a little rain. But when there’s a little bit of rain and it’s 35 degrees outside, then it’s going to be a different story. It’s just one of those things you gotta prepare for. You take it for what it’s worth and try to treat every kick the same....

It didn’t feel like anything was too different. I probably missed it by a foot or two. I mean, it’s probably one of those things where I didn’t crush it like I wanted to, probably aimed it a little bit. But the hardest one to make is the one after a miss. So I made the extra point and had a good kick afterward. So it’s all about bouncing back when you play for a team like this."
For University of Texas trivia buffs, last night marked the first time that former Longhorns were opposing kickers in an NFL game:

Phil Dawson, class of 1998
Four-year letterman at the University of Texas (1994-97)… Earned first-team All-America and All-Big 12 honors following senior season in 1997… Team captain his senior year… Was 9 of 15 from 50+ yards over collegiate career, including a career-long 53-yarder as a junior… In 1996 as a junior, was a first team All-America selection… Hit 19 of 24 field goals and posted 108 points in 12 games… Also named Academic All-Southwest Conference in 1994 and 1995 and All-Academic Big 12 in 1996 and 1997… Earned a B.A. in political science.
Justin Tucker, class of 2012
A versatile kicker who kicked in a variety of roles over his four seasons at Texas…Handled kickoff duties in 52 games and placekicking duties in 25 contests…Kicked off 328 times for an average of 63.3 yards per kickoff and 64 TBs…Posted 190 career points by connecting on 40 of 48 FGAs (83.3%) and all 71 PATs…His 83.3% on FGs is tied for third best all time at Texas…Also a rugby-style punter who registered 155 punts for 6,283 yards (40.5 yards per punt)…Second-team All-Big 12 honors by the Associated Press as a senior in 2011.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Hawthorn or Sydney?

The Australian Rules football season comes to its grand conclusion this weekend with the AFL Grand Final, where the Hawthorn Hawks will face the Sydney Swans. 

We checked in with a few Aussies, most of whom have become associated with American football punting, to get their thoughts on the big game.

Ben Graham (from Leopold, Victoria, Australia)
punter for Detroit Lion; also a former Geelong Cat
"Hawthorn by five goals, even though my Grandfather played 227 games for South Melbourne (now Sydney). Hawthorn are an attacking team, Sydney are defensive minded but I think when Sydney decide to attack in the 2nd half, the game will open up and Hawthorn will capitalise, score quickly and run away with it. Lance Franklin and Cyril Rioli will be influential and Sam Mitchell to win the Norm Smith medal."
Josh Bartel (from Kiewa, Victoria, Australia)
punter for Hamilton Tiger-Cats
"It's going to be a tough one to call. Hawks have some exciting players that can turn a game around in 10 minutes with Franklin, Rioli and Hodge. But Sydney is a team that never says die. They are a scrappy in and under team that love the hard ball, especially with Bolton and Kennedy in the midfield. If Sydney can shut down Franklin and Rrioli they will come out with the win. Sydney in a thriller by 4 points."
Brad Wing (from Melbourne Australia)
Punter for Louisiana State University
"Hawthorn. Buddy Franklin is a beast and he will dominate."
John Smith (from Leafield England)
former NFL and CFL kicker, now with Prokick Australia
"Sydney because they epitomize what a team is all about. Strong in all areas. Hawthorn have amazing talent but if if doesn't all shine on the day it will go to the wire and Sydney will be consistent in all four quarters. The Bloods by 10."
Christian Eldred (from Melbourne Australia)
punter for University of Minnesota
"I think Hawthorn wins, primarily because I'm from Victoria. I feel as if they have so many options in the forward line that can hit the score board, and that Sydney won't be able to be accountable for all of them."
Chris Bryan (from Keysborough, Victoria, Australia)
punter for Tampa Bay Bucs in 2010 and the NY Jets last preaseason; also a former Collingwood Magpie
"Hawthorn. Not to sure why because haven't seen much footy, but I think they might just get it. Will be a great game & Sydney are a chance."
Dave Lonie (from Palm Beach Australia)
former punter for University of California
I think Sydney will win mate. I think they are well drilled and four quarters of even football. Hawthorn seem to turn it on here and there and in a Grand Final you need to play for four quarters. I also think Sydney has a better defence and that might be enough to get them the win."
Stuart Lierich (from Brisbane Australia)
"I believe Sydney will win! They have a well conditioned midfield that plays "accountable" football. Expect a gameplan of one-to-one across the field. Sydney have strength in their defensive key positions and should play physically 'close' to Hawthorn. I don't expect a high scoring match, regardless of the weather, but in a tight contest my tip is the Swans by 12 points."
Jy Bond (from Melbourne Australia)
punted for UFL's Hartford Colonials in 2010 and in camp with the New York Giants
"I heard its going to be a wet day so it could be close. I have to go with the bloods - my dad was involved with the Swans when he retired & I spent time around the team as a youngster - idolized the Wizz Warwick Capper!"
Jay Karutz (from Sydney Australia)
punter for Eastern Michigan University
"Sydney Swans by 15 points. Played with and against Kieren Jack, and Jarrad McVeigh in State Sides and juniors, gotta go with the Sydney boys. Family members since 1998, GO SWANNIES!!!!!"
Scott Crough (from Bungaree, Victoria, Australia)
has worked out for several CFL & NFL teams
"Definitely building a case for Sydney after last weeks effort over Collingwood, they were a lot more impressive and if their defense can hold up against the Hawthorn talls and they can keep scoreboard pressure on them early, I think they can beat the Hawks, but it will be tight I think, Swans by 15 points."
Sam Irwin Hill (from Bendigo Australia)
punter for City College of San Francisco
"Sydney are a great team that play fare and put in four quarters of solid football, but Hawthorn i feel will turn it on in the second half and play some clutch football and come out winners."
Nathan Chapman (from Bendigo Australia)
former Green Bay Packers punter, now with Prokick Australia
"Sydney for me. I have seen them grind away with relentless pressure for a few weeks now and feel its just a timing thing. I believe they are a little more structured in their game play. For those who get the chance to watch it, this will be a super fast tough game. Enjoy!"
Jamie Keehn (from Gracemere, Queensland, Australia)
punter for Louisiana State University
"It's been about four months since I have watched a game, but I think Hawthorn. To put it simple, Buddy Franklin is the x-factor. The guy is a freak."

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Name That Foot, episode 1

Welcome to the much-anticipated debut episode of Name That Foot. We'll forego the fanfare and get right to it.... 

To which three individuals do the feet pictured below belong? 
The first person to correctly name all three in the comments section below earns an honorary degree in kickology, with a minor in trivial photography. Answers will be added to the post next week.

Hint: a steelhead is just as likely to take a hook wrapped with yarn as it is to take an elegantly tied spey.

Hint: sorry, no hint is probably needed for this one.

Hint: 12,081 kilometers = 7,507 miles = 6,523 nautical miles 

Congratulations to official winner Brandon Hellevang, former kicker at University of North Dakota, who was the first to post the correct answers in the comments section. Congratulations to secondary winner Chris Koepplin, former kicker in camp with the New England Patriots the past two summers, who was the first the provide the correct answers, albeit via twitter rather than posted here.

The correct answers are:
A. Gary Anderson. The hint pertains to fly fishing, which is what he's been doing since retiring from kicking.
B. Pelé.
C. Darren Bennett. The hint is the distance between Sydney Australia, from whence he hails, and San Diego California, where he punted in the NFL and now resides.

Triple Punt Tuesday - Nick Harris, Mat McBriar & Shawn Powell

Scattered over the course of a typical season in the ever fickle NFL, there are usually several changes at the specialist positions throughout the league. Yesterday during the span of just a few hours - not one, not two, but three teams changed punters. One resulted from injury, two were coaching/management decisions. In all three cases the teams re-signed a player that had formerly been on the team. One team went from veteran to veteran. Another went from youth (second year player) to veteran. The third went from veteran to rookie.

While in the end the NFL is a business, along the way individuals are certainly impacted. As the current catch phrase goes, punters are people too. Yesterday three punters probably had a bad day, while three very likely had a good day.

Detroit Lions
Last summer, rookie Ryan Donahue won the punting job over long time (2003-2010) veteran Nick Harris. Part way through the 2011 season, Donahue injured his quad and ultimately landed on IR. Veteran Ben Graham was signed and finished last year. This summer, Donahue and Graham competed for the job, with the latter getting the nod. But in the Titans game this past Sunday, Graham suffered a calf injury. Yesterday the Lions placed him on IR, and re-signed Harris, who discussed his return:
“It's kind of strange. I look at the rookies and they look at me like, ‘Who's the new guy?' and I look at them like they're the new guys … it's awesome....
I think [the familiarity with Hanson] helped a lot. The past history, the continuity and the fact that we work well together had a lot to do with [his return]....
The atmosphere [now] is that there's a goal. There's a goal to win, to be in the playoffs and ultimately to win a championship. That wasn't here a long time ago, but it's here now, and it's good to be a part of that."
Philadelphia Eagles
This summer, second year punter Chas Henry held off competition from veteran Mat McBriar. Yesterday, the Eagles changed their mind, releasing Henry and signing McBriar to a two-year deal. The Melbourne native previously played for NFC East rival Cowboys from 2004-2011 until a drop foot injury led to his release. McBriar discussed his return to the NFL yesterday:
"It was the best news I’ve had in awhile. It was an understatement to say that I was excited, I was really thrilled....
I went head-to-head with Chas for all of the preseason, and it was a good battle and I really thought whoever won that — and that was Chas — would do a great job. So I was somewhat surprised in that regard to hear from them already....
I’m amazed and I can’t wait for [practice] tomorrow. It can’t get here soon enough, but I also know I need a good week of practice, too, to get familiar with everything again and make sure I can perform at a high level."
Buffalo Bills
This summer, veteran punter Brian Moorman (who had been with Buffalo since entering the league in 2001) held off comepetion from rookie Shawn Powell. Yesterday, the Bills changed their mind, releasing Moorman and signing Powell to a three-year deal. General Manager Buddy Nix discussed the move:
"It goes back to trying to upgrade at the position and looking down the road. We evaluate everything every day, especially every week after a game. We do that, and then we look at things and say, ‘well, we can get better here’ and that’s what we try to do....
It’s always a tough decision, and especially a guy like Brian that’s been here for 12 years and had a great career with the Bills, has been kind of a staple for this organization. A lot of community service, he and his wife, I mean they do a lot of good things, and that makes it tougher, but a decision we felt like we needed to make."
Powell had a good day yesterday:
"I am just trying to get the world to slow down right now...I have just been hoping that everything would fall into place. Now, I just want to go out and keep doing the things that got me here....
They told me not to go out there and try to fill his [Moorman’s] shoes. They told me just to go out there and focus on doing the things that got me here....
There will be some butterflies, and this is a new experience. But I plan to hit it with a full head of steam. I just want to relax and just know my ability will take over."
Wednesday postscript:  
A day after being released by the Bills, Brian Moorman was signed by Dallas. The Cowboys punter Chris Jones sprained his knee in the Tampa Bay game and could miss several weeks. 
“Anybody is surprised when they get cut. Obviously, I’ve been there a long time and it is what it is. It’s time to just kind of move on to a new chapter. I’m excited to be part of such a storied franchise, whether it’s a short time or a long time. I’m just here to hopefully do as good as Chris as done over these last few weeks. He’s done a great job, and I hope to continue that for the team....
This is a locker room full of great guys, I can already tell. But I left a lot of friends behind in the locker room in Buffalo, and I’m going to miss all of them. It’s a little strange holding for a different kicker and all that stuff, but it’s kind of like riding a bike.”

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

NFL Week Three: Assorted Kicking Tidbits & Milestones

St. Louis rookie kicker Greg Zuerlein hit a 56 yard field goal in the loss to Chicago. It was the second longest in team history, behind Jeff Wilkins' 57 yarder. It was the longest kick ever at Soldier Field, surpassing Kevin Butler's 55 yarder.

Tampa Bay kicker Connor Barth made a 28 yard field goal in the loss to the Giants, extending his team record streak to 22 consecutive made field goals.

Minnesota kicker Blair Walsh made a 52 yard field goal on the final play of the first half in the win over San Francisco. He has now made a 50+ yard field goal in each of his first three games - the only Viking to ever do so and the only rookie in NFL history to do so.

As discussed yesterday, Kansas City kicker Ryan Succop's six field goal in one game is a new  team record, surpassing Nick Lowery, Jan Stenerud, and himself.

It wasn't related to this week's game, but happened to be announced yesterday... San Diego fans voted former punter Darren Bennett into the Chargers Hall of Fame.

As discussed yesterday, Detroit kicker Jason Hanson made four field goals in the loss to the Titans. That moves him up to fourth on the NFL career field goals list:
  1. Morten Andersen 565
  2. Gary Anderson 538
  3. John Carney 478
  4. Jason Hanson 473
  5. Matt Stover 471
  6. John Kasay 461
  7. Jason Elam 436
  8. Adam Vinatieri 391
  9. Nick Lowery 383
  10. Jan Stenerud 373
  11. Norm Johnson 366
  12. Ryan Longwell 361
  13. Eddie Murray 352
  14. Olindo Mare 350
  15. Al Del Greco 347
  16. David Akers 345
  17. Steve Christie 336
  18. George Blanda 335
  19. Jeff Wilkins 307
  20. Jim Turner 304

College Special Teams Players of the Week 4, 2012

The following kickers and punters have been named Special Teams Players of the Week by their respective conference for the fourth week of the 2012 college football season. No slight intended to any returners that received such honors, but our focus (as always) is on the kicking end of things.

ASC - Texas Lutheran kicker Allen Cain
Big 12 - Kansas State punter Ryan Doerr
Big East - Temple kicker/punter Brandon McManus
Big South - Liberty kicker John Lunsford
CC - Johns Hopkins kicker Richie Carbone
CCIW - Carthage College kicker Brett Bukari
CUSA - Marshall punter Tyler Williams 
Empire 8 - Ithaca College kicker Garrett Nicholson
Frontier - Carroll College punter/kicker Tom Yaremko 
GNAC - Humboldt State punter Chris Campbell
HAAC - Central Methodist kicker Ezequiel Rivera
HCAC - Defiance College kicker Spencer Saunders
Independent - BYU punter/kicker Riley Stephenson
Ivy - Dartmouth kicker Riley Lyons
LSC - Midwestern State kicker/punter Greg Saladino
MAC - Widener kicker James McFadden
MAC East - Akron kicker Robert Stein
MAC West - Central Michigan kicker David Harman 
MIAA - Northwest Missouri State kicker Todd Adolf
MWC - New Mexico kicker Justus Adams  
NEC - Albany kicker Sean Kenny
NESCAC - Williams College kicker/punter Joe Mallock
NJAC - Rowan kicker Mike Burke
Pac-12 - Oregon State punter Keith Kostol
Patriot - Georgetown kicker/punter Matt MacZura 
RMAC - CSU-Pueblo kicker Greg O'Donnell
SAC - Wingate kicker Matthew Sierk 
SIAC - Fort Valley State punter/kicker Justin Rosenbaum
SoCon - Georgia Southern kicker Alex Hanks
Sun Belt - Troy kicker/punter Will Scott 

If we missed someone that should be on the above list, please let us know!

Monday, September 24, 2012

NFL Week Three: Kickin' Overtime - Jason Hanson & Rob Bironas

Both kickers worked overtime in Tennessee's 44-41 win over Detroit. 

Although Titans kicker Rob Bironas had plenty of kickoffs, made five extra points, and hit field goals of 31, 38 & 26 yard fields goals (the latter of which was the winner in OT), all he wanted to discuss afterward was the two that got away (41 and 48 yard attempts that went wide left). The first miss broke his streak of twenty consecutive field goals made.
"I should have hit the two earlier and we wouldn’t have been in that position. It wasn’t my prettiest game, but the boys stepped up and picked up my slack....
You’d like to get 21, but streaks are made to be broken."
Lions kicker Jason Hanson was even busier. On placekicks, he made all three of his extra points and all four of his field goals (47, 53, 33, 26 yards).

Like Bironas, Hanson also had plenty of kickoffs, although one was an onside attempt which was successfully recovered by team mate Amari Spievey. That allowed the Lions to score two touchdowns in the final 18 seconds of the fourth quarter to tie the game and send it into overtime.

Last but not least, Hanson averaged 39.3 yards on three punts, placing one inside the twenty yard line. Why was he punting? He took over the role after starting punter Ben Graham was injured in the first quarter. Hanson discussed his day of punting:
"I wasn't comfortable at all. But I was glad to just catch the ball and get it off. At least get it out of the way. It wasn't good by NFL standards, but it was good by old-kicker-haven't-punted-in-a-long-time standards.... It's been years, I think [since fully practicing]. I've punted the ball out of my hand. But live with the team and catching the snap, it's been awhile."
Were it not for a mix-up, Hanson would have gotten another opportunity in overtime to re-tie the game. On  a 4th-and-1, the Lions were trying to draw the Titans off sides, but backup quarterback Shaun Hill took the snap and came up short on a sneak. Head coach Jim Schwartz noted:
"I was getting ready to call time out, but unfortunately that's where we were."

NFL Week Three: At The Wire - Justin Tucker & Sebastian Janikowski

There were several angles to the game winning field goal on the final play of the Ravens 31-30 win over New England last night. And that's not even counting the storyline dating back to the role a field goal attempt played in the AFC Championship game last year. The first attempt by Justin Tucker didn't count as Patriots head coach Bill Belichick had called a last second icing timeout.
"You see that all across football, from high school all the way up to here. I really just take the opportunity to take a warm-up shot at it. I take it for what it's worth. If somebody wants to do that, it really just gives the guy another opportunity."
The second attempt at the 27 yarder sailed above the upright. Fans are still debating whether it was good or not. Most Baltimore fans seem to think it was good, while most New England fans seem to think it went wide. The officials ruled it good and there was no replay review as noted by former head of officiating Mike Pereira.
"A field goal that goes over the top of an upright is not reviewable because you cannot determine when exactly the ball is directly over the pole. So that's the rule. I can't tell good or not. But if I had to guess, I'd say it was good."
 Long snapper Morgan Cox was happy.
"I'm really happy for him. It's a summation of all the hard work we put in. Lead him the right way and keep him focused and grounded."
Justin Tucker was happy too.
"It was pretty cool. It may not have sunk in yet. Hopefully, this is one of many. I relish the opportunity. It's fun. I'm excited....

I try to make it feel the same, but, at the same time, you can't help it. There's a lot of emotion. There's a lot of history between these two teams. It's just one of those things that you accept, and you've really just got to embrace it and embrace it in the moment....

Bottom line is it went in. That's all I care about. It went in."
With far less discussion and no controversy, Sebastian Janikowski also hit a game winner on the final play yesterday. His 43 yarder gave the Raiders a 34-31 come from behind victory over the Steelers.

NFL Week Three: Kickin' Overtime - Ryan Succop

In the season opener against the Falcons, Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop missed a 40 yard field goal attempt - hitting the upright. After yesterday's game, Kansas City head coach Romeo Crennel commented:
"We had a little issue in the first game, but he's been working hard to be consistent. Today he was able to be consistent and put points on the board."
In the first quarter against the Saints, Succop hit a 25 yard field goal for the Chiefs first points. Score 7-3.

In the second quarter, he hit a 45 yarder, his longest of the day. The Chiefs trailed 10-6 at the half.

Entering the fourth quarter, the Chiefs trailed 24-13. Succop went to work. Field goals of 34 and 38 yards, along with a safety pulled them to within three points. With three seconds remaining, he tied the game with his fifth field goal of the day - a 43 yarder.

In overtime, Ryan Succop won the game with a 31 yarder, his sixth field goal of the game.
"The best part is our guys never gave up. We kept fighting, it was a huge team win and I’m just really excited to have had a part in it.”
The six field goals set a franchise record, surpassing the prior mark of five which was achieved four times by Nick Lowery, three times by Jan Stenerud and once by Succop:
"That’s very humbling … anytime you’re ever mentioned in the same sentence as those guys. Today our team needed it, and I was able to have an opportunity to go out and knock them through.It’s a testament for how well Thomas (Gafford) snapped and Dustin (Colquitt) held for me, and our line protected....

Read more here:
I felt good over the ball all day. I just try to go out there and make every kick. I was trying to be ready to go out there and put a good stroke on it … I was able to hit the ball well all day, and it was great."
Lowery subsequently commented:
"Congratulations to Chiefs' excellent kicker and great guy Ryan Succop for his six awesome field goals and the game-tying and game-winners over the Saints yesterday! Records are made to be broken, and no one is more deserving of breaking my record for most FG's in a game!!"

NFL Week Three: Kickin' Overtime - Dan Carpenter & Nick Folk

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When the final whistle blew, the New York Jets had won 23-20 over Miami in overtime. As is the case after any close game, the players on the losing side consider the what-if scenarios. Even kickers do so, at least momentarily before they purge or bury the thoughts. Dolphins' kicker Dan Carpenter was wide left on a 47 yard field goal attempt early in the fourth-quarter. He did make a 41 yarder with 21 seconds left in regulation to tie the game. Then in overtime he was wide left again on a 48 yard attempt.
"I let the team down. First of all there shouldn't have been an overtime. We should never have even been there. I just didn't come through. It's something you don't want to do through, but you know there is nothing I can do about it now....
I missed both kicks. There's nothing else to it. My position you have to have a short memory no matter what. Whether you just make 30 in a row or you miss three in a row, it doesn't matter. It's all about the next kick."
Deeper into overtime, Jets' kicker Nick Folk got his opportunity, but the Dolphins blocked his 33 yard field goal attempt.... although officially they did not. Miami head coach Joe Philbin had called timeout just prior to the play for the ever-popular icing-the-kicker ploy.
"I thought it was the right call. I was planning it all along, to call timeout right before he kicked the ball. I really had no reaction whatsoever on that. That was the plan, the thing to do and we did it....
I would say that is our position right now that typically we are going to ice the kicker. But nothing's in stone, I think."
Nick Folk proceeded with the kick.
"I could hear the whistle. [But] I like to get one in, so I tell [long snapper] Tanner Purdum, all the time, even if it is late, go ahead, snap the ball and we'll put it down and kick it. I think part of it too was our guys heard the whistle so they stopped what they were doing....
I'd rather kick it than sit there and not kick it. I got another warmup kick."
 On the re-kick that counted, Folk put it through the uprights for the win.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Big Kickers on Campus, 2012 week 4

A summary of notable kicking during the fourth week of the 2012 college football season:

Senior kicker David Harman made a 47 yard field goal with three seconds remaining to lift Central Michigan 32-31 over Iowa. It was his fourth field goal of the game. 
I didn’t hit it perfectly. I caught if fat so it came off a little low. But I know for me that that distance, I should get it there pretty much every time.... I mean it’s definitely something I’ll tell my kids. That’s that moment that I’m going to remember for the rest of my life. That’s what you dream about is, coming to a place like this just to do what you do.”
Junior kicker Jarod Brown hit a 25 yard field goal with 41 seconds left in the game to give Old Dominion a 64-61 win over New Hampshire. There was also some offense in the game.
"I don't think I've ever been a part of something like that. Our team came together and played as a team and we got the win. It was amazing!"
Freshman kicker Robert Thullen made a 23 yard field goal with 10:12 left in the fourth quarter giving Whitworth a 17-14 win over Chapman.

Freshman kicker David Castillo's 22 yard field goal gave Lane College a 37-34 overtime victory over Morehouse College.

Sophomore kicker Riley Lyons made a 31 yard field goal with a second remaining to give Dartmouth a 13-10 win over Holy Cross.
“I've never had the opportunity to kick a game-winner, even in high school. Coach Teevens told me during the timeout, ‘This is why you play the game.’ I had been hoping for an opportunity like this, though I would certainly welcome winning by a larger margin. But our defense made a big play and the pass to Ryan put me in a good position to make the kick.”
Sophomore kicker Miles MacKenzie hit a 46 yard field with four seconds remaining to lift Ohio Wesleyan 17-14 over Case Western Reserve.

Freshman kicker John Griggs' 33 yard field goal with 8:47 left in the fourth quarter proved to be the winner as Bridgewater College (VA) won 17-14 over Shenandoah.

Junior kicker Matt MacZura hit a 33 yard field goal with 14 seconds left to give Georgetown a 21-20 win at Princeton.
“I kind of knew we were going to make it. I don’t know if it ever becomes old habit, but [the Wagner field goal] it makes the next one a little easier.”
Sophomore kicker Ryan Mong hit a 28 yard field goal in the first overtime to give Allegheny College a 20-17 victory against no. 7 ranked Wabash College.

Sophomore kicker Ty Long hit three field goals, including a school record 54 yarder, in UAB's 29-15 loss to Ohio State.

Sophomore kicker Alex Zemezonak made a 17 yard field goal with nine seconds left in the game to give Colorado Mesa a 31-29 win over Black Hills State.

Sophomore kicker Cody Nuzzo hit a 30 yard field goal with three seconds remaining to give California (PA) a 26-24 win over Indiana (PA)
“It’s an unbelievable feeling to kick the game-winning kick after missing the PAT. When I missed the PAT I was discouraged, but as a kicker you have to have a short memory. I give a lot of credit to my snapper and holder. It was the first game-winning kick that I have ever had and it’s a very exciting feeling.”
Although it occurred with 5:26 remaining in the third quarter, senior kicker Drew Alleman's 30 yard field goal proved to be the winning score as LSU defeated Auburn 12-10.

Sophomore kicker Terry Stecker hit a 35 yard field goal with 1:13 left in the game to give Kansas Wesleyan a 33-31 win over Bethany (KS).

Freshman kicker Alex Hanks made a 32 yard field goal with 3:40 remaining to give Georgia Southern a 26-23 win over Elon.

In the second overtime, senior kicker Drew Geldbach hit a 34 yard field goal to give Southeast Missouri State a 41-38 win over Tennessee Tech.
"The kick got tipped a little bit. Lucky it went through. It's my first overtime game I've ever played in. I just have to stay calm like any other kick."
Senior kicker Dan Tryon made a 31 yard field goal as time expired to lift Wesley College  to a 25-22 victory at Louisiana College.

If we missed someone that should be on the above list, please let us know!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Kicking, Punting & Snapping for Remainder of 2012

With football season now fully under way in America and just past the mid-point in Canada, we checked in with a range of specialists regarding the remainder of 2012 by asking them to respond to one of the following questions:

A. Is there anything in particular that you have been or plan to work on?
B. What are you most looking forward to keeping an eye on during the season, at any level (professional, college, high school, etc.)?

Patrick Mannelly, Chicago Bears long snapper
A.The biggest thing I continue to work on as I get older is my feet.  I think the first thing to go for snappers as they get older is their ability to protect and cover.  Coming off my knee injury last year I was most worried I would not be able to protect like I had in the past.  I worked mostly on my post snap movement throughout my rehab.

B.  I am looking forward to seeing how important the kicking game will be again this season at all levels. [Last year] there were some kicks that impacted games in College and the NFL. Unfortunately, most were misses that gained significant media attention. Considering the outcome of those games last season, ideally, specialists realized the importance of mentally training for this season.  If so, we will see more kicks splitting the uprights. There is no better feeling then kicking a game winning field goal, pinning an opponent on their one yard line, and of course, starting it all with a perfect snap.

A. My plan for now is to rest. After my second hip surgery last January I went really hard for about 18 months without any break rehabbing, working out, and trying to stay ready for NFL, UFL or AFL workouts. And then kicking as much as we do in arena, my body needs to recover. I will do some cardio, core work, and light stretching for now and then starting lifting in October and start kicking in November. When I get back to kicking, my focus is going to be on getting my hips through the ball and getting down field. I think by refocusing on leg lock through impact will help make it easier to swing up and through the target and get down field since my misses usually came from falling off after contact and swinging a bit across my body. 
B. I'm just going to keep my eye on Northwestern. That's my only real focus on football for now.

Brian Jackson, Team Jackson Kicking
B. I work with numerous specialists in the Southeast, especially in the state of Alabama, and I noticed last season that a lot of placekickers were missing not only 1 or 2 extra points, but in the range of 4 to 6 extra points during their season.  This could be due to lack of focus, inexperienced holders and long snappers, or simply bad blocking.  I put an emphasis to all of the players that I have worked with over the last 8 months to make realistic goals and bonus goals.  For example, a realistic goal is to go 100% on field goals inside 30 yards, and a bonus goal is to make a 45+ yard field goal. This obviously can vary from player to player considering their experience and overall leg strength and accuracy, but it keeps you balanced and motivates you to strive for success.  For this season, I 'm really keeping any eye on PAT percentage at the prep level.  I would love to see 90% of kickers that I have worked with go 100% on PAT's as a realistic goal, and that's one of the key areas I will be tracking this season.
B. I am looking forward to a few things this year in kicking. First, I am looking forward to watching the college game to see what kickers and special teams coaches plan to do on kickoffs. Will they try to crush the ball out of the endzone or will they use the extra five yards to pin people deep. I suspect that some of the elite kickers will try to land the ball just a few yards in the endzone with excellent hang time and dare the returners to bring the ball out. Finally, I want to see if the NFL kickers keep this record setting accuracy on field goals. Pro kickers keep getting better and better and now making 80% of your kicks isn't enough to keep your job! 

Swayze Waters, Toronto Argonauts kicker
A. For me, I am constantly working on consistency with my steps. It seems like it would be pretty easy to walk straight back and walk perfectly sideways, but its something I am constantly trying to improve on and decrease my margin of error. Steps and reps!

Spencer Lanning, free agent punter
B. At the college level, I am anxious to see how the new onside kick rule will effect the game.  The "high-hopper" style kick that is slammed into the ground and then towers into the air, can now be fair caught. Personally, I do not like this new rule and hope that it doesn't make the leap to the next level (NFL).

Brent Grablachoff, Kicking World
B. I’m most interested in the statistical breakdown of kickoff returns as far as the average starting position for offenses after a kickoff. As most of you already know, starting this season the NFL and NCAA both made changes to move the position where kickers kickoff from the 30 yard line to the 35 yard line. Also, teams are now rewarded with a much better starting position on touchbacks. So instead of and offense starting from the 20 yard line, teams now begin on the 25 yard line. It’s been said widely that special teams coaches will strategize and devise a new game-plan with regards to kickoff philosophy. Notably, many ‘experts’ feel kickers will start to loft their kickoffs high in the air with the goal of maximizing hang-time and pinning the return team as deep as possible without giving up a touchback. Previously, a kickoff would be a reward for the kickoff team and it was the ultimate goal of any kickoff specialist! With all this said, it should be rather interesting to see how this new rule affects kickoff strategy. My gut feeling is that teams will start the first few games attempting this high lofted kickoff but as the season progresses more teams will ultimately go for the sure thing of a touchback. I believe a ‘sure thing’ is always better than leaving the decision to the return man and the team’s KO coverage. I guess it really depends on the team philosophy and how risky or conservative a coach is. Let’s see what happens!

Coach Tom Feely, Feely Athletics
"What I am most looking forward to is something I have hoped would be possible for a long time, and it will happen this coming weekend. I will be personally attending a high school game, a college game and a NFL game  (all three this weekend) with one of my own sons playing in all three games. Nick Feely, a senior kicker/punter In high school plays on Friday night an I am his position coach. Tyler is a Punter  for Columbia University and they play their season opener in New York City on Saturday, and Jay Feely's team, the Cardinals plays the Patriots on Sunday."

Postscript via Twitter:
"Feely Football Trifecta a success! Saw 3 sons play in 3 days & all 3 won. Armwood's , Columbia's & Az. Cards" 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

NFL Week Two: Assorted Kicking Tidbits & Milestones

Although Jacksonville kicker Josh Scobee only score this week was an one extra point, that was enough to give him the Jaguars' franchise record for scoring. He now has 765 points, surpassing former kicker Mike Hollis' 764 points.

Detroit Lions kicker Jason Hanson hit field goals of 41, 40, 48 against the 49ers, moving him into second place for most 40+ yard field goals made in NFL history. His 175 field goals from 40 or more yards is two more than Gary Anderson's 173. In first place, as he is for quite a few NFL records, is Morten Andersen with 187.

Also moving into second place all-time was Tennessee Titans kicker Rob Bironas on the NFL field goal percentage list. As of today, the top ten most accurate kickers are:
  1. 86.89% Nate Kaeding, Chargers
  2. 86.49% Rob Bironas, Titans
  3. 86.47% Mike Vanderjagt, retired
  4. 85.97% Robbie Gould, Bears
  5. 85.88% Shayne Graham, Texans
  6. 84.48% Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots
  7. 84.30% Matt Bryant, Falcons
  8. 83.66% Matt Stover, retired
  9. 83.38% Phil Dawson, Browns
  10. 83.18% Ryan Longwell, free agent
Note: although they don't have enough attempts to make the list, Garrett Hartley would currently be 2nd and Connor Barth would be 7th.

Minnesota rookie kicker Blair Walsh has hit a field goal of 50+ yards in each of the first two games. The last Viking to do so was Fuad Reveiz in 1992.

Baltimore rookie kicker Justin Tucker's 56 yard field goal on Sunday tied Wade Richey for the longest in Ravens history.

Rookie punter Bryan Anger of the Jacksonville Jaguars leads the NFL in punting average after two games. He averaged 53.5 yards on four punts in a Week 1 and 52.2 yards per punt on nine punts in a Week 2, for an overall 52.6 yard average.

Monday, September 17, 2012

College Special Teams Players of the Week 3, 2012

The following kickers and punters have been named Special Teams Players of the Week by their respective conference for the third week of the 2012 college football season. No slight intended to any returners that received such honors, but our focus (as always) is on the kicking end of things.

Big 12 - Iowa State punter Kirby Van Der Kamp
Big Sky - Cal Poly kicker Bobby Zalud
Big South - Gardner-Webb punter Bo Lindsey
Big Ten - Northwestern kicker Jeff Budzien
CAA - Delaware kicker Sean Baner
CCIW - North Central kicker Nick Dace 
CIAA - Elizabeth City State punter Brett Symonds
CUSA - East Carolina punter Trent Tignor 
GCS - North Alabama kicker Michael Schuster
GLVC - Urbana punter Clay Lust
GPAC - Hastings College kicker/punter Kenny Anderson Jr. 
HCAC - Rose-Hulman punter Eric Schaible
Independent - Notre Dame punter Ben Turk
MAC East - Ohio kicker Matt Weller
MAC West - Ball State kicker Steven Schott
MIAA - Alma punter Jacob McCombie 
MSC - Belhaven kicker James “Bo” Bryan
MSFA Midwest - Olivet Nazarene kicker Andrew Muzljakovich 
MWC - Fresno State punter Andrew Shapiro
MFVC - South Dakota State punter Ethan Sawyer
NSIC - Sioux Falls kicker Braden Wieking
OAC - Capital kicker Travis Bosanac
OVC - Eastern Illinois kicker Cameron Berra
Pac 12 - Utah punter Tom Hackett
RMAC - Colorado Mines punter Taylor Accardi 
RSEQ - Concordia kicker Keegan Treloar
SAC - Carson-Newman kicker Curt Duncan
SCA - Austin College kicker Andrew Klink 
SEC - Auburn kicker Cody Parkey
Sun Belt - Western Kentucky punter Hendrix Brakefield
SWAC - Alabama State kicker/punter Bobby Wenzig
USA South - Christopher Newport punter Mason Studer

If we missed someone that should be on the above list, please let us know!

NFL Week Two: Goin' the Distance

Yesterday's early NFL games saw nine successful field goals of at least 50 yards. Although not quite the longest of the day, perhaps the biggest came in Indianapolis. With eight seconds remaining, Adam Vinatieri hit a 53 yarder to give the Colts a 23-20 win over Vikings. Following the game, long snapper Matt Overton tweeted:
Way to go my fellas!!! Snap, hold, kick WIN!
The holder, punter Pat McAfee, chimed in:
Just another day for Adam Vinatieri... He'll be banging 50 yard game winners when he's wearing Depends. What a BALLER
Adam Vinatieri, who knows a little bit about game winning kicks, discussed his latest:
“When it was halfway there I knew it was good. I felt like I hit it well, but you always have to follow through and look up to make sure it’s confirmed that you hit it where you wanted to.... It’s always special. Any time you can go out and help your team win a game and put points on the board, it’s a great feeling, no matter what the distance is and what the circumstances are.  It’s nice to go out there and show them I still got some lead left in the pencil.”
On the other side of the field, Vikings rookie kicker Blair Walsh made a 51 yard field goal. It marked the second week in a row that he connected from long distance.

The longest of the day belonged to Ravens rookie kicker Justin Tucker, who made field goals of 56, 51 & 48 yards in Baltimore's 24-23 loss to Philadelphia.
"My range would probably extend to the upper 60s on a good day. You don’t put too much emphasis on the distance. It’s just another attempt. Harbaugh is always stressing to us to keep stacking good days....  I feel I hit [the 56 yarder] pretty good. I was pretty fired up to hit a good kick today. I was just looking at it as another kick. With my particular job description, you really have got to have no emotion. You just got to have a poker face every single attempt."
Cleveland kicker Phil Dawson hit a 50 yarder in the Browns 34-27 loss to the Bengals. New Orleans kicker Garrett Hartley hit a 53 yarder in the Saints 35-27 loss to the Panthers. Tampa Bay kicker Connor Barth hit a 52 yarder in the Bucs 41-34 loss to the Giants.

New England kicker Stephen Gostkowski made field goals of 46, 34, 51 & 53 yards. But as is oft the case, it was the one he missed that garnered all the attention afterward. With the Patriots trailing the Cardinals 20-18, his potential game winning 42 yard attempt with five seconds remaining was wide left.
"I had a chance to win and it came down to me. I didn't pull through and it stinks. I feel bad for the fans and my teammates. I can't take it back now.... I had a good game up until that point. I felt good going out there. There's probably not another game where I would feel more confident going out for a kick like that. It humbles you really quick."