the study of the kicking components within sports

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fred Mitchell Award October 2012 Recognizees, part 2

The Fred Mitchell Award recognizes 31 place-kickers for their excellence on the football field and in the community during the month of October. The annual Fred Mitchell Outstanding Place-Kicker Award is provided to the nation’s top collegiate place-kicker among more than 750 FCS, Division II, III, NAIA and NJCAA football teams. The Award is named for Fred Mitchell, the record-setting place-kicker, Wittenberg University Athletic Hall of Famer, author, philanthropist and Chicago Tribune sports columnist. The recipient of the Fred Mitchell Award will be chosen based on excellence on the football field and in the community. The Award’s Watch List is released each August, top performers are recognized monthly during the college football season, and the winner (who is not required to be on the Watch List) is announced in mid-December. The school of the Award winner receives scholarship funds and the Fred Mitchell Award trophy will be presented on February 18, 2013 at the National Football Foundation Chicago Metro Chapter Awards Ceremony at Halas Hall.

In alphabetical order, the second third of the Fred Mitchell Award honorees for October 2012 are listed below.

TAYLOR GROFF - East Stroudsburg University (Pennsylvania) – Division II 
Junior from Manheim, PA….leads the team in scoring with 70 points from 12 of 19 FG’s and 34 of 34 PAT’s….scored 38 points in October from 7 of 10 FG’s and 17 of 17 PAT’s….has made last 7 FG’s including 52-yard FG in 48-27 loss Bloomsburg on October 13 where he scored 9 points….scored 15 points in 59-33 loss to Kutztown on October 20….scored 9 points in 45-37 win over LIU Post on October 27….holds school records for career FG % and 14 career FG’s of 40+ yards …. only kicker in PSAC history with multiple FG of 51+ yards (has 3) … ranks 3rd in ESU history with 207 kicking points….averaging 61 yards on 53 kickoffs….volunteer for children’s programs at local church….participates in school’s Breakfast with the Warriors during preseason camp…volunteers at Kohl’s Kicking Camps and Special Teams Solutions Camps 

STEPHEN GRZYWACZ - Stonehill College (Massachusetts) – Division II 
Freshman from Manchester, NH….leads the Skyhawks with 49 points from 10 of 15 FG’s and 19 of 22 PAT’s….scored 24 points in October from 6 of 7 FG’s and 6 of 8 PAT’s….leads the NE-10 and set school record with 10 FG’s in a season to break the previous record of 8 FG’s in a season….scored 8 points in October 5 game against American International….scored 8 points in 45-41 loss against #3 New Haven on October 18….participated in school’s Into the Streets campaign by volunteering at a local unemployment office….volunteers at a local soup kitchen in his hometown 

AARON JAMIESON - University of Central Missouri – Division II 
Senior from Cassville, MO….leads the Mules in scoring with 56 points from 8 of 13 FG’s and 32 of 34 PAT’s….scored 29 points in October from 6 of 9 FG’s and 11 of 12 PAT’s….scored 17 points in 47-17 win over Central Oklahoma on October 14 including 3 FG’s of 40+ yards….became the school’s all-time leading scorer for a kicker on September 20….Literacy Team volunteer where student-athletes read to local elementary school students….Veteran’s Home volunteer in Warrensburg….Fellowship of Christian Athletes…leads worship services…collaborated with his father at his high school alma mater to start The Character Project where students participate in regular community service 

JOSH KAY - Linfield College (Oregon) – Division III 
Senior from Salem, OR….leads the team in scoring with 57 points from 6 of 13 FG’s and 39 of 41….scored 24 points in October for the 7-0 Wildcats….scored 9 points in 45-10 win over Willamette on October 27….averaging 61 yards on 53 kickoffs… football camp volunteer for the "See Ya Later" Foundation…works with the Foundation’s director on developing and managing a Kids Golf Camp for the spring of 2012 with the goal of reaching 150 local youth …competed in golf at Linfield where he helped the school capture the 2011 Northwest Conference championship…competed at the 2011 NCAA Division III Championships….volunteer coach at South Salem High School summer football camp….served as mentor and role model to young athletes in youth development program at Courthouse Athletic Club including assuming a leadership role while teaching specialized performance training 

ADAM KELLER - North Dakota State University – FCS 
Sophomore from Lewisberry, PA….leads the #3 ranked Bison in scoring with 74 points from 13 of 17 FG’s and 35 of 38 PAT’s….scored 29 points in October…scored 12 points in 48-7 win over then #3 Youngstown State….tied for 4th in FCS with 1.62 FG’s per game and 12th in scoring….first year as full-time starting kicker…. averaging 61 yards on 37 kickoffs….volunteer coach for Tri-City seventh grade soccer team…Rosewood Nursing Home volunteer 

JOSEPH MALLOCK - Williams College (Massachusetts) – Division III 
Junior from West Orange, NJ….leads the team in scoring with 35 points from 8 of 12 FG’s and 11 of 13 PAT’s….scored 18 points in October….scored 4 points in 34-26 win over Hamilton on October 27….named NESCAC Special Teams Player of the Week in two consecutive weeks following wins over Colby and Trinity….volunteered with teammates for Habitat for Humanity, cleaning up debris in local trailer park after Hurricane Irene and served food at the Berkshire Food Project….note taker on campus for students who are unable to take their own notes….contributing writer for the Williams Record covering the men’s golf team….volunteer caddie instructor at golf club in hometown 

ANTONIO MAYO - Fayetteville State University (North Carolina) – Division II 
Sophomore from Jacksonville, NC….2nd on the Broncos in scoring with 51 points from 9 of 15 FG’s and 24 of 25 PAT’s….scored 27 points in October….recorded 11 points in 47-29 win over Livingstone on October 27 including a career-high 5 PAT’s made….made career-long 45-yard FG earlier this season against Chowan….averaging 51 yards on 42 kickoffs….member of school’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee….participated in the announcement of the SAAC essay contest with local elementary schools about anti-bullying in schools 

JAMES MCFADDEN - Widener University (Pennsylvania) – Division III 
Senior from Warminster, PA….2nd on the team in scoring with 61 points from 3 of 3 FG’s and 52 of 54 PAT’s….scored 22 points in October for the 8-0 squad….scored 10 points in 34-29 win over Albright on October 27….12 of 12 PAT’s against Wilkes set the Conference record and nearly tied the NCAA record of 13 PAT’s….two-time Conference Special Teams Player of the Week….averaging 61 yards on 69 kickoffs….participates in football team community events including drunk driving awareness, Sun Hill clean-up near campus, Relay for Life and Special Olympics 

PATRICK MURRAY - Fordham University (New York) – FCS 
Senior from Mahwah, NJ….leads the Rams in scoring with 76 points from 18 of 21 FG’s and 22 of 22 PAT’s….ranks 10th in the FCS in scoring with 9.5 points per game….has already tied the school’s single season record with 18 FG’s….scored 12 points in 38-31 win over Georgetown on October 6…scored 10 points against the University of Cincinnati from FBS on October 13 including school-record 55-yard FG…. scored 12 points at Holy Cross on October 27 in a 36-32 win…named CFPA National Placekicker of the Week four times this season including twice in October….Patriot League Special Teams Player of the Week four times including twice in October…averaging 65 yards on 50 kickoffs…volunteers with the football team in a reading program where players read to elementary school children in the Bronx…Part of the Solution program volunteer via the school at a local food shelter…volunteer assistant coach with the school’s men’s intramural soccer program…has volunteered for various food drives and toy drives at Fordham 

THOMAS OBARSKI - Concordia University (Minnesota) – Division II 
Sophomore from Burnsville, MN….leads the Golden Bears in scoring with 53 points from 9 of 11 FG’s and 26 of 28 PAT’s….scored 22 points in October and earned his 2nd NSIC Special Teams Player of the Week honor of the season in October….scored 9 points against Augustana on October 27 including a Division II season-long and NSIC record-long 59-yard FG which also broke his own school record of 56 yards set in his first collegiate game….scored 5 points against Sioux Falls on October 13 including 52-yard FG which was the 3rd longest in school history….owns the longest three FG’s in school history and three of the five longest in NSIC history since 1998….has made the longest kick in the NSIC in back-to-back seasons….11 of 11 in career on FG’s up to 40 yards….averaging 58 yards on 40 kickoffs….drug education mentor/teacher to middle school children….high school camp volunteer….Feed My Starving Children volunteer….church student leader….volunteer church work for small group activities….Bible Study leader….served on overseas missions trip….helped raise over $6,000 for the tsunami relief fund in Japan…supported and raised funds for Project Rescue

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Name That Foot, episode 6

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: received scholarship offers in both soccer and football.

B. Hint: has played on both sides of the pond.
Hint: has played in both the AFC and the NFC.

Bonus hint: sometimes it can be hard to keep up with these three guys.

Congratulations to official winner Bryce Thompson, presumably the same one who is a kicker & punter for Towson University (although we don't know that for a certainty).

The correct answers are:
A. Baylor Bears kicker Aaron Jones
B. Schalke and US National Team midfielder Jermaine Jones
C. Houston Texans punter Donnie Jones

Fred Mitchell Award October 2012 Recognizees, part 1

The Fred Mitchell Award recognizes 31 place-kickers for their excellence on the football field and in the community during the month of October. “October was a terrific month for place-kickers. There were notable records set and game-winning field goals. Heading into the last month of the regular season, we are delighted to recognize these place-kickers that were nominated by their schools for extraordinary performance,” said Fred Mitchell. The Award’s Selection Committee Chairman Chris Kearney added, “These place-kickers had a wonderful month on the football field. Their community service accomplishments are also impressive. We are pleased to salute this group of fine student-athletes.”

The breakdown of the 31 place-kickers is as follows:
  • Collegiate Division – 8 FCS, 12 Division II, 8 Division III, 1 NAIA, 2 NJCAA
  • State – the place-kickers play at schools located in 22 different states with 3 place-kickers at schools in both Pennsylvania and Minnesota
  • Year – 12 Seniors, 10 Juniors, 5 Sophomores, 4 Freshmen 
In alphabetical order, the first third of the Fred Mitchell Award honorees for October 2012 are listed below.

TODD ADOLF Northwest Missouri State University – Division II 
Senior from Omaha, NE….leads the Bearcats in scoring with 78 points from 9 of 11 FG’s and 51 of 51 PAT’s….scored 33 points in October when the team was 4-0 and 8-1 on the season by making both FG’s and all 27 PAT’s….made career-long 48-yard FG in 48-10 win over Fort Hays State on September 15…..has made 249 of 253 career PAT’s….340 career points ranks 6th in school history….averaging 61 yards on 71 kickoffs….Habitat for Humanity volunteer….participates in the team’s annual cleanup efforts to help the elderly in Maryville 

FAFA ASANTE Rochester Community and Technical College (Minnesota) – NJCAA 
Freshman from Brooklyn Park, MN….scored 32 points in October from 3 of 3 FG’s and 23 of 25 PAT’s….three-time Special Teams Players of the Week for the team this season….averaged 55 yards per kickoff in October….joined several teammates at a Halloween party on October 25 for children of those in the military….visits local elementary schools to mentor children 

SAM BROCKSHUS Minnesota State University – Division II 
Junior from Spencer, IA….leads the Mavericks in scoring with 83 points from 15 of 19 FG’s and 38 of 39 PAT’s….currently ranks 6th in MSU’s single season scoring with 83 points and 14 points shy of school record….active leading scorer on the team with 225 career points…has scored at least 10 points in 4 games this season….tied career-high with 12 points in 30-20 win over Winona State on October 20 including career-long 47-yard FG….4 of 4 in 40+ yard FG’s….tied for 1st in Division II with 1.67 FG’s per game and 21st in scoring with 9.22 points per game….averaging 59 yards on 59 kickoffs….member of MSU’a and NSIC’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee….raised funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation….volunteers at youth and varsity football camps in his hometown….Fellowship of Christian Athletes….Kids Against Hunger volunteer….People and Christ Together food drive volunteer 

CHASE CARPENTER - Northwest Mississippi Community College – NJCAA 
Sophomore from Slayden, MS….second on the team in scoring with 56 points from 7 of 12 FG’s and 35 of 39 PAT’s…scored 22 points in October for the 7-1 Rangers….scored 8 points in 32-20 win over Holmes on October 11….averaging 56 yards on 57 kickoffs….exceeded 50 hours in community service including helping to cut and maintain three football fields 

ERNIE COLLINS - University of San Diego – FCS 
Senior from San Ramon, CA….leads the Toreros in scoring with 58 points from 11 of 13 FG’s and 25 f 26 PAT’s….scored 30 points in October….named Pioneer Football League Special Teams Player of the Week following the 24-7 win at Jacksonville on October 20 scoring 6 points including a 43-yard fourth quarter FG to put the team ahead by three scores….5 FG’s of 40+ yards this season….scored 9 points in 44-0 win over Campbell on October 13….tied for 2nd longest FG in school history with 51-yard FG against Western New Mexico….has made two 48-yard FG’s this season which is tied for 4th longest FG in school history….averaging 61 yards on 39 kickoffs….Autism Tree Project Foundation volunteer….promotes autism advocacy with rest of football team....participates in Toreros Linking the Community events including the Donate-a-Dollar and Toy Drive program which helped support 30 local families by collecting hundreds of unwrapped gifts and more than $2,500 

ZACH CZAP - Lycoming College (Pennsylvania) – Division III 
Junior from Philipsburg, PA … second on the Warriors in scoring with 36 points from 4 of 9 FG’s and 24 of 27 PAT’s….scored 19 points in October….scored 8 points in 38-7 win over Wilkes on October 27 to help the team go to 6-2 on the season….Conference Special Teams Player of the Week after the win over Wilkes where he made a season-long 37-yard FG….averaging 57 yards on 41 kickoffs….helped with flood cleanup along the Loyalsock Creek with the football team … helped a local church with a basketball open gym last spring … participated in the Student Senate of Lycoming College's haunted house … active in youth work at his hometown YMCA 

RAINER DUZAN - Morehead State University (Kentucky) - FCS 
Senior from Dublin, OH….leads the team in scoring with 51 points from 6 of 7 FG’s and 33 of 35 PAT’s….scored 23 points in October from 1 of 1 FG’s and 20 of 21 PAT’s….scored career-high 10 points in 70-28 win over Campbell on October 27….owns school records for points by a kicker (237), FG’s made (36) and PAT’s made (129) where he ranks as the Pioneer Football League’s active career leader in all three categories….Morehead State Student-Athlete Advisory Committee….Freshman Move-In Day volunteer….Earth Week Clean-Up volunteer 

EVAN FINCH - Hope College (Michigan) – Division III 
Junior from Ann Arbor, MI….leads the team in scoring with 41 points from 4 of 4 FG’s and 29 of 31 PAT’s….scored 24 points in October from 4 of 4 FG’s and 12 of 12 PAT’s….scored 10 points against Trine on October 27 including FG’s of 40, 32 and 28 yards….made all 7 PAT’s against Alma College on October 13 despite cold and wet conditions….works with Special Education students as a swimming teacher….Bible Study leader on campus….volunteers to help Ann Arbor Pioneer High School track team 

DILLAN FONTAINE - Albany State University (Georgia) – Division II 
Freshman from Deltona, FL….2nd on the Golden Rams in scoring with 27 points from 6 of 7 FG’s and 9 of 10 PAT’s….scored 10 points in 36-9 win over Clark Atlanta on October 20 including career-long 39-yard FG….recorded 3 tackles this season….averaging 54 yards on 33 kickoffs….visits local elementary schools to encourage them to stay in school…visits patients in local nursing homes 

JASON FOWLER - Ouachita Baptist University (Arkansas) – Division II 
Senior from Mesquite, TX….leads the team in scoring with 54 points from 7 of 8 FG’s and 33 of 35 PAT’s….scored 10 points in 58-7 win at Arkansas-Monticello on October 13….broke the school’s career scoring record on October 27 against East Central University….has made 160 of 165 PAT’s in career….volunteered at various soccer camps in the Dallas area…performs community service projects for the school’s bi-annual Tiger Serve Day 

JAMES GISH - Southwestern Assemblies of God University (Texas) – NAIA 
Junior from Waxahachie, TX….made season-long 41-yard FG to secure the 27-17 win at Howard Payne University….made game-winning kick in 28-27 win over Oklahoma Panhandle State on October 27….scored all 12 of the team’s points in a 13-12 loss to then-#18 Bethany College….volunteers with football and soccer camps that allow low-income children to attend sports camps

College Special Teams Players of the Week 9, 2012

The following kickers and punters have been named Special Teams Players of the Week by their respective conference for the ninth 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.

ACCAC - Glendale kicker Mike Navarro
Big 12 - Oklahoma State kicker/punter Quinn Sharp
Big East - South Florida kicker Maikon Bonani 
Big Sky - Southern Utah kicker Colton Cook
Big Ten - Nebraska kicker/punter Brett Maher
Centennial - Muhlenberg kicker Connor Winter
Frontier - Montana Western kicker Mackenzie Crossley
GAC - Harding kicker John Gay
GLIAC - Lake Erie College kicker/punter Sam Marcotte
GLVC - Indianapolis kicker Scott Miller
GSC - West Alabama punter Jordan Ikner 
IIAC - Central College kicker Kevin Sheldon
Independent - Notre Dame kicker Kyle Brindza
Ivy - Penn kicker Connor Loftus
KCAC - Tabor kicker Joe Cannon
MAC - Lycoming kicker Zack Czap
MAC East - Miami (OH) kicker Kaleb Patterson
MAC West - Northern Illinois kicker Mathew Sims
MACJC - Itawamba Community College kicker Tyler Jackson
MSFA - Olivet Nazarene kicker Andrew Muzljakovich
MWC - Colorado State punter Pete Kontodiakos
NEFC - Endicott College kicker/punter Dylan Rushe
NSIC - Northern State kicker Felipe Alfaia 
OAC - Ohio Northern punter Kevin Weslosky
OVC - Tennessee State kicker Jamin Godfrey 
Patriot - Fordham punter/kicker Patrick Murray
RMAC - CSU Pueblo kicker Greg O’Donnell
SAC - Carson-Newman kicker Curt Duncan
SEC - Ole Miss kicker Bryson Rose 
SLC - Northwestern State kicker John Shaughnessy
SoCon - Wofford kicker/punter Kasey Redfern
Sun Belt - Arkansas State kicker Brian Davis 
USA South - Methodist kicker Cody Ausherman
WAC - Louisiana Tech punter Ryan Allen 

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

Monday, October 29, 2012

NFL Week Eight: One-n-Many - Robbie Gould & Justin Medlock

Through the first six games of the season, Panthers kicker Justin Medlock only saw two field goal opportunities. Yesterday at a particularly windy Soldier Field he got five and made them all - from 34, 31, 22, 43 & 45 yards. 
"I wanted to get in a groove the first couple of games by kicking some field goals. It didn't happen, but I kind of figured they would come in bunches at some point. They finally came at the windiest place and on a tough field, but it was good to come through and help the team."
The last of the five, a close call that went in off the upright, came with 2:27 remaining and gave Carolina a two-point lead.
"I was telling the special teams coach before the game anything from 45-50 yards on that left hash would be one of the toughest kicks on the whole field because you have to ride the wind. You have to hold it off and not get it to turn over. I knew right away. I said, ‘Oh no, it’s going to turn.’ Luckily I was good for an inch."
Chicago kicker Robbie Gould was called on for only two field goal attempts. He missed the first one, a 33 yarder early in the fourth quarter.
"I just made a mistake. I played it outside the post. Everything's been coming back and, unfortunately, that one didn't. I was more mad because I made a mental error than a bad kick because I hit the thing pure."
After Carolina had taken the lead following Medlock's final kick, the Bears drove into position for a 41 yard field goal attempt. Gould made it as time expired, and Chicago won 23-22.
"[after the first miss] Eric Weems came up to me and said, 'You're going to win the game for us'. And sure enough, we got the game-winner. Obviously, when you get an opportunity like that, first of all, don't let your teammates down. I'm the final piece of a puzzle. I'm very blessed to have a lot of great people around me. Just lucky to get a chance."
Afterward, Gould said of his kicks in the larger context:
"I'm very fortunate. If we would have lost the game because I missed a short field goal I'd be pretty upset about it first of all as a competitor but also because I don't want to let guys down that worked so hard in here to get a big win. We were looking to get to 6-1, and just because I missed a short field goal there's no excuse for it. That loss would have went on my shoulders, but we won and that's a good thing."
When asked about his fellow specialist's performance, Gould commented:
"[Medlock] played great. Give him all the props in the world because it's a tough place to kick."
 For Medlock, it was of course mixed feelings:
"It's a tough loss. It's a team game, and we're here to win, but at the same time all I can control is kicking field goals and helping the team out. That part was good."

Read more here:

NFL Week Eight: Various Kicks - Tynes, Crosby & Janikowski

The majority of the Giants points in their  29-24 win over the Cowboys came off the foot of Lawrence Tynes. He made two extra points and five field goals (41, 37, 26, 43 & 37 yards). The latter two were the only scoring by either team in the fourth quarter.
"Those points were obviously big. If it’s field goals, it’s field goals, we really don’t care how we win."
During the third quarter of the Packers 24-15 win over the Jaguars, kicker Mason Crosby missed a 32 yard field goal attempt which hit the upright.
"When I raised my head up after the strike, the strike felt all right. It looked like it was on a good path, and it just moved to the right and moved pretty hard drastically.... We’ll obviously have to look at it. But it’s one of those that it just seems like some of those are happening right now and just have to work through it and get the ones, like the one at the end, and just bounce back."
His holder, punter Tim Masthay, said of his co-specialist:
"I think he’s fine. One thing he’s always impressed me with since I’ve been here is his resiliency. Typically, he never misses two in a row, bounces back pretty quick. Today, if you saw some of the kickoffs, saw some of the punts, the wind was pretty fickle. So it was a tough day to kick and punt. You’d have to ask Mason as far as the miss goes. But I think he’s fine."
During the Raiders 26-16 win over the Chiefs, kicker Sebastian Janikowski added to his career success at Arrowhead Stadium. He was good on all four of his field goals attempts (36, 35, 29 & 32 yards). Last week he had discussed kicking in that venue.
"I just feel comfortable there.... Maybe it’s the song and singing the chop [similar to the 'Tomahawk Chop' from his college days at Florida State]. All I know is I really like to kick there."

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Big Kickers on Campus, 2012 week 9

A summary of notable kicking during the ninth week of the 2012 college football season:
Freshman kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn made a 33 yard field goal as time expired to give UCLA a 45-43 win over Arizona State.
"It was just quiet. I was trying to stay within myself. I was trying to just focus on what I had to do in my technique; keep my eyes back and following through, what I do at practice and throughout the whole year."
Senior kicker Robert Hersh's 31 yard field goal with 4:14 remaining gave Texas Southern a 23-20 win over Grambling State

Freshman kicker Reece Attard's 43 yard field goal in overtime lifted Husson 17-14 over SUNY Maritime.

Senior kicker Bryson Rose hit a 31 yard field goal as time expired to give Ole Miss a 30-27 win over Arkansas. He also hit a 53 yarder earlier in the fourth quarter.
"At the start of the year I was trying to have such a great season that I forgot to have fun. I talked to my dad and other people, and they told me to have fun with it."
Sophomore kicker Mike Theismann's 25 yard field goal in overtime gave St. Scholastica a 20-17 victory over Presentation College.

Junior kicker Jamin Godfrey made a school-record five field goals (37, 32, 27, 41 and 22 yards) to lift Tennessee State to a 22-21 win over Tennessee Tech.
"Last game really hit me hard. I practiced really hard to not let that happen again. I’m glad I had the chance to make some kicks."
Senior kicker Dustin Hopkins hit a career long 56 yard field goal during Florida State's 48-7 win over Duke. He now owns the ACC career field goal record
“I looked over and Jimbo [Fisher] was kind of upset. I saw him and [special teams] coach [Eddie] Gran consult each other and then Gran looked at me and said, ‘kick it.’”
Junior kicker Andy Wilder's 18 yard field goal with 15 seconds remaining gave Northern Arizona a 12 -10 win over Northern Colorado.

Sophomore kicker Cody Ausherman's fourth field goal of the game, a 23 yarder in overtime, gave Methodist a 26-23 win over LaGrange.

Sophomore kicker Connor Loftus hit a 45 yard field goal with 2:12 remaining to tie the game and then a 35 yarder with 17 seconds remaining for the victory as Penn won 20-17 over Brown.
"The snap and hold were great. I have a ton of confidence in those guys and it felt like any other kick. I went through my normal routine and that's the only way to do it."
Senior kicker Josh Storm made a 20 yard field goal with one second remaining to give Randolph-Macon College a 27-24 win over Shenandoah.

Junior kicker Colton Cook hit a 36 yard field goal with three seconds left to lift Southern Utah to a 30-27 win over Eastern Washington

"It felt good right off my foot, I knew when I kicked it, it was good. I knew right away."
Freshman kicker Kaleb Patterson made a 31 yard field goal with 1:24 remaining to give Miami (OH) a 23-20 win over Ohio.
“Just kick it down the uprights, just do what I do. They’re saying, ‘We trust you enough to put you on the field and to kick this at the end, and we’re not going to try anything extra.’ I feel honored more than anything.”
Junior kicker John Wells made a 23 yard field goal with 50 seconds remaining to lift Cornell 37-35 over Princeton.

Freshman kicker John Wallace's 30 yard field goal in overtime gave Louisville a 34-31 win over Cincinnati.

"I was calm and cool. I had a lot of confidence."
Senior kicker Mackenzie Crossley kicked a 32 yard field goal with 58 seconds to play to lift Montana Western over Rocky Mountain College 23-20.

Senior kicker John Shaughnessy hit a pair of 42 yard field goals during the fourth quarter to give Northwestern State a 27-26 win over Nicholls State.

"After three years of not catching many breaks, it was nice to catch one tonight. We’ll take it. We turned the ball over four times, but who cares? We won the game, and that’s all that matters. We’re still in the conference hunt. I’m so elated right now."
Junior kicker Griffin Thomas' 38 yard field goal with 8:51 remaining in the fourth quarter proved to be the winning points as Jacksonville State won 38-35 over Murray State.

Junior kicker Travis Coons made a 30 yard field goal with 1:20 left in the game to lift Washington 20-17 over Oregon State

Senior kicker Quinn Sharp made five field goals ( yards), tying a school record, during Oklahoma State's 36-14 win over TCU.
"You want (the offense) to get in that red zone and be successful, but whenever it's my job to go out there, I'm going to do my best to get points on the board and help those guys out."
If we missed someone that should be on the above list, please let us know!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Sweet Spot, part 2

Yesterday we revisited our exploration of the Sweet Spot in kicking a football. Today we continue with more responses from kickers, punters, and coaches.

Michael Husted, National Camp Series
For me, the sweet spot is when you hit the ball just right that it feels like you have barely made contact with it. Your technique is so sound that when your upper torso is tall, your hips, knee and ankle are synchronized at the same time when making contact, that you barely feel the ball flying off of your foot. It is one of the best feelings for a kicker.

Nathan Chapman, Pro Kick Australia
THE SWEET SPOT, a mysterious spot on the ball that when your kicking well can feel like you will never miss it, BUT also when your not going so well and your confidence is down, can seem like there is not one there at all. One thing that you can get a feeling of though is when you are on your approach for kicking or punting and somehow you just know that you are going to hit it sweet before you even touch the ball with your foot. So a tip to keep hitting the SPOT would be to keep practicing with good technique and you will likely hit it more often. When you hit the sweet spot you are smiling before the ball leaves your foot, when you miss it, the field will seem 200 yards long, the blood will drain from your face and your biggest decision is working out who NOT to look at first, your head coach or your special teams coach.

Filip Filipovic, The Kicking Coach
Before I even start my approach, I like to think of the solid sound that top of the foot makes with the ball and the image of the top of my instep compressing the ball forcefully. I know that as long as I keep my focus on the image and the sound, it will happen that way, and the ball has to go straight and far.

As a kicker we love the sweet spot. We teach our holders or know how to set the ball on the tee to assure we are getting the best shot at hitting it. When you hit the sweet spot just right you hear a deep thud off your foot and it feels as if you barely hit the ball. When you look up the ball is a picture perfect kick. It has great rotation and it takes off. As a kicker you know when you haven't hit the sweet spot. It sounds almost like a slapping sound. The ball may have a fast rotation or a funky spin and it feels as if you have no power or accuracy. We thrive on hitting the sweet spot and we try to be perfect each time.

The emotional aspect is beyond comparison for those who love kicking. When you hit the sweet spot, I don't have to look up, think about it, or even guess. You know right when you strike the ball, that it is solid and will be straight down the pipes. Even if you just kicked 50 field goals, it makes you want to hit another 50.

The sweet spot on a football, for me as a straight-on kicker, was a small area about 2 1/2 inches from the bottom point of the ball, directly opposite the side with the laces. As a kid, I remember reading a magazine piece featuring former NFL kickers Don Chandler and Tommy Davis. As I recall, they would put chalk on the front of their square-toed right shoe during practice. After kicking the ball, they would look for the chalk imprint on the football to make sure they were hitting the sweet spot consistently. Of course, you can immediately tell when you kick the ball in the perfect spot without looking. I would compare it to the sound and feel of hitting a baseball right on the screws: no reverberation. The sweet spot on the football for straight-on kickers was more difficult to hit consistently than it is for today's soccer-style kickers, who use their entire instep.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Sweet Spot, part 1

Kickers and punters often mention hitting “the sweet spot” when they discuss kicking a ball. While most sports fans have a general idea what that means, and may be familiar with the term from other sports that involve striking a ball, they probably don’t have a true appreciation for it unless they themselves have kicked a football. With that in mind, we asked kickers, punters, and coaches to elaborate on the sweet spot.

When I hit the ball on the "sweet spot", I did not even feel the ball come off my foot. The ball had a deep "thump" sound as opposed to the "slapping", higher-pitched sound of a mishit ball. As a kicker/punter, this is the most unbelievable feeling you can have because you see your maximum potential in hang time and distance come to fruition. The endless hours of hard work and boring drills are all worth it.

Rob Maver, Calgary Stampeders punter
Personally, when I hit the sweet spot I can't miss. Whether it's a field goal or a punt, if you hit the sweet spot the ball is going to come off your foot the way you want it to since you can only hit it if you strike the ball perfectly with good form. It feels effortless because of the form, and when you strike the 'sweet spot', the ball compresses the most it can and jumps off your foot accordingly. It's tough to hit the ball anything but perfect when you hit the sweet spot.

Hitting the sweet spot is like punching a bag... It doesn't have to be super fast or hard, but the connection has to be there. You can swing as hard as you can to punch someone in the face, but you won't get much damage with making very little contact scraping their cheek. A slower but better connect punch to face does more damage. This is similar in kicking, work on hitting the sweet spot over and over at a decent speed, and when comfortable enough with skill, accelerate still hitting the sweet spot, this is how you break your own personal best FG or KO. Stay in control, but be explosive. You will know right away if you got under a ball, not by just looking at it spinning frantically in the air, but how you connect with the ball that you know it's short. However, when you feel a good connection with your upper foot on the bottom third to half of the ball, you know you've hit optimal distance.

When you hit "the sweet spot" on a football, whether it's a field goal, kickoff or punt, you know instantaneously upon contact that that ball is going exactly where you want envision it, at the height & distance you want it to travel, and with the "perfect rotation".

Brion Hurley,
You know when you hit the sweet spot when you don't even feel the ball on your foot. The ball leaps off your foot and goes further than any of your other kicks.

I have some great footage on the second page of my website on the Film Study link....
Jordan Congdon just finished his career at USC. What’s notable about Jordan was he did not have a huge leg - 50, 51, 52 was just about his max. He needed every shred of everything he had to make a FG. What Jordan was able to do better than just about anyone I’ve worked with was he could control his change of direction exceptionally well, get a very late hip turn, and not take any sort of divot. He has a couple of different sets of film on the site but the “sweet spot” kick to which I am referring is listed under “Compression and Contact”.

Matt Wile was named US Army All-American (as a punter) and I have film of him hitting the sweet spot on a FG. The side shot of him in the film where he’s wearing a green shirt shows EVERYTHING firing in the right order. What Matt is doing is creating LIFT by exceptional timing and body position through contact. Most kids will over swing in a futile attempt for HEIGHT, when they should be creating lift. Kids often don’t realize the importance of the timing of the kick. To go out and hit ball after ball with a set of sticks and ignoring the importance of the rhythm of snap, hold, kick is simply a huge waste of time.

Name That Foot, episode 5

To which five individuals do the feet pictured below belong? 
The first person to correctly name all five 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: he's the youngest of all those pictured.
Hint: like many old-school football players, he played multiple positions.
Hint: it is not Pelé.

Hint: we're looking for the name of the kicker, not the returner.

Hint: was also a skilled player in several other sports.

Congratulations to official winner Brian Umstead, Kansas City Command kicker. Brian knows feet.

The correct answers are:
A. Bart Simpson
B. Goofy
C. Scooby-Doo
D. Barney Rubble
E. Bugs Bunny

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

NFL Week Seven: Assorted Kicking Tidbits & Milestones

Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker hit his two more 50+ yard field goals against Houston, giving him four for the season, the most in a single year in Ravens' history. The prior record was two (both 51 yarders) by Matt Stover in 2000. Tucker is also the only rookie in NFL history to have two games with two field goals of 50+ yards in one year.

The current season leaders in 50+ yard field goals are:
  • 5 of 7: Greg Zuerlein, St. Louis
  • 4 of 4: Justin Tucker, Baltimore
  • 4 of 4: Phil Dawson, Cleveland
  • 3 of 3: Blair Walsh, Minnesota
  • 3 of 4: Connor Barth, Tampa Bay
  • 3 of 4: Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis
  • 2 of 2: Matt Bryant, Atlanta
  • 2 of 2: Matt Prater, Denver
  • 2 of 2: Stephen Gostkowski, New England
  • 2 of 3: Sebastian Janikowski, Oakland
The all-time record for most  50+ yard field goals in a season:
  • 8 Morten Andersen, Atlanta, 1995
  • 8 Jason Hanson, Detroit, 2008
  • 7 David Akers, San Francisco, 2011
  • 7 Phil Dawson, Cleveland, 2011
  • 7 Sebastian Janikowski, Oakland, 2011
The other week we noted that kicker Josh Scobee had tied the Jaguars' franchise-record for career field goals. This week he moved into sole possession of first place by raising his total to 178, leaving Mike Hollis in second with 175.

The Nate Kaeding Era in San Diego Ends

When San Diego kicker Nate Kaeding first suffered a groin injury in late September, rumors of injured reserve surfaced. But then the diagnosis was not as bad as first feared, so the team kept him on the 53-man roster. But that changed yesterday as the Chargers placed him on IR. Head coach Norv Turner explained:
"We had to make a decision. 'We were going a man short and we had the chance to add a receiver. Nate is going to continue his rehab. He's been a great player for us. I think the world of Nate. It is a difficult decision but it's just something we had to do at this point."
Once Kaeding's healthy and passes a physical, he'll be released and become a free agent available to play for another team this year. Chargers general manager A.J. Smith stated:
"We wish him great success as he continues on with his career. He has been a great player and a great teammate in his time with us. ... It was a very difficult decision, and we gave it great thought over a long period of time. We just felt at this point in the season, Nick was the best option for us. Nick is certainly no stranger to the organization. He has fit in very well here, and we are very pleased with his ability and production."
Nick Novak, who has stepped in to kick following Kaeding's injuries both last year and this year, commented:
"I just want to acknowledge how well Nate did. He worked his tail off to get back and had a great training camp. It was unfortunate his groin got a little beat up this year. For me, I've been here four weeks now. I didn't know how long I was going to be here, but I approached every week like I was the guy. I feel bad for Nate."
Special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia said of the situation:
"Nick has obviously been a proven kicker. He showed us that last year, and he has come in and done a tremendous job this year.  He’s been great with not only his field goals but also kicking off. We have a lot of confidence that his work ethic in practice will translate to game play.”

It was real difficult. We didn’t want to lose Nate. We thought he was coming back off a serious injury a year ago and had a tremendous preseason. He made all his field goals this season to start the year.  Any time you have someone playing at a high level and get himself into an injury situation it’s tough."
For his part, Nate Kaeding is well aware of the realities of the NFL:
"Certainly, I’m a bit surprised, but in this business, you should never be surprised. It’s a little tough today because I certainly had envisioned and prepared for and worked toward a different ending and closure for my time in San Diego. … But, yeah, I’ve got a lot of football left in me....

I certainly had a lot of success throughout my career. Outside a couple lousy performances in the playoffs, I hold my head high. ... I always said, when my time is done out here that if I could say I prepared the right way, handled things the right way, worked hard, had the respect of my teammates and coaches … I always pride myself in doing things the right way. Certainly I’m disappointed I can’t be a part of what’s in store for the team. It is a business. Anybody that says they don’t take it personal they’re lying. It’s your life. You pour everything into it. I know I went in and did things the right way. … Hopefully they respect me for that."
What does the immediate future hold in store for Kaeding?
"I had hoped to get back on the field this week or next and was on pace to do it. I was surprised that was their decision, but I don't take part in any of those conversations. It's certainly disappointing. It's not the ending I had envisioned for myself here. But I'm going to take this week to get healthy and throw my name in the hat for employment elsewhere."
Nate Kaeding Career Stats

Monday, October 22, 2012

College Special Teams Players of the Week 8, 2012

The following kickers and punters have been named Special Teams Players of the Week by their respective conference for the eighth 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.

ACC - North Carolina State kicker Niklas Sade
Big 10 - Michigan kicker Brendan Gibbons
Big 12 - TCU kicker Jaden Oberkrom 
Big East - Syracuse kicker Ross Krautman 
Big Sky - Cal Poly kicker/punter Bobby Zalud
Big South - Stony Brook kicker Wesley Skiffington
Frontier - Rocky Mountain College kicker Nick Knell
GCS - Valdosta State kicker/punter Daniel Andersen
GPAC - Midland kicker Treyton Buresh
IIAC - Coe College punter Chase Cooling 
Independent - BYU punter Riley Stephenson
Ivy - Yale kicker Philippe Panico
KCAC - Ottawa kicker Dominic Sigala
MAC East - Kent State kicker Freddie Cortez
MIAC - St. Olaf kicker Lucas Wainman 
MWC - San Diego State kicker Chance Marden 
NEFC - Coast Guard kicker Tyler Henning
NFC - Louisburg College kicker Ryan Samuels
NSIC - Minnesota State kicker Sam Brockshus
PAC - Thomas More College kicker Tim Gormly, Jr.
PFL - San Diego kicker/punter Ernie Collins
SAC - Carson-Newman kicker Curt Duncan
SCFA - Pasadena City College kicker Martin Magana
SEC - Florida punter Kyle Christy 
SLC - Central Arkansas punter Kevin Bufford
WAC - Utah State kicker Nick Diaz 

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

NFL Week Seven: Placekicking & Kicking Off - Mason Crosby & Dan Bailey

Packers kicker Mason Crosby made field goals of 47, 23 & 48 yards in  Green Bay's 30-20 win over St. Louis. His lone miss came from 58 yards at the end of the first half.
"Just timing was off on that long one. I've been hitting the ball well. Sometimes, that's just the way it goes. We'll work through it. Some of these long ones just aren't falling. With a 58-yarder, you have to hit it pretty much just right. I might have gotten a little quick and it just came off a little bit low and to the right. It just kind of jumped right. When I hit it, I knew I didn't match it great. I think I got a little ahead of it. With the timing, everything has to be right. Unfortunately, it wasn't right.... That 58-yarder just before half would have been nice, but we finished well and that's one of the most important things to do."
Crosby also had a notable kickoff - a surprise onside kick in the first quarter. The Packers recovered it as Crosby commented afterward:
"[CB Trumaine Johnson]'s the guy they're locked on to try to block off the ball. He made a good play, but it was good that we fought and were able to get it.... We did a great job finishing that play because that ball kept bouncing around. It was anybody's ball. [LB Jamari Lattimore] did a good job getting on it."
Head coach Mike McCarthy discussed his willingness to use the play:
"We have it up every week. It’s a skill that Mason Crosby, I think, is exceptional at. Frankly, watching him kick it Friday in practice, he hit two that were as high as I’ve seen him kick it. I even said to Shawn [Slocum], if the opportunity comes, I feel good about the way Mason’s striking it. At that point in the game, I was trying to get the momentum to switch."
Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey made field goals of 19, 49, 28 & 38 yards in Dallas' 19-14 win over Carolina. This came after a week of media scrutiny following his missed 51-yard potential game winner last week.
"Last week was tough. It’s just a tough situation. It’s kind of hard to swallow sometimes. But it was good to go out there this week, and when the opportunities came up, I was able to put them through....
Anytime you get those longer attempts, it’s good to knock them through when you get the opportunity. You just want to make them. It was good to get that, get some points on the board. That’s what we needed the most, is get some points on the board."
Bailey also ran the gamut on kickoffs, from a mis-hit short one to start the game to two touchbacks towards the end of the game.
"That [first one] was just bad. That was just a mental error on my part. I was just trying to do too much, trying to pretty much kill the ball. I took my eyes off of it...
I had a quite a bit of adrenaline going for those last two kicks. We needed those kicks. I kind of got pretty pumped up about it. I’m glad it went out the back of the end zone, because they probably would have brought it out, even if it was nine [yards] deep."

NFL Week Seven: Overtimers - Stephen Gostkowski & Sebastian Janikowski

Both of yesterday afternoon's late games were decided in overtime with a field goal by the home team. In New England, the visiting Jets had taken a three point lead on a pair of Nick Folk field goals late in the fourth quarter. Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski tied the game with a 43 yarder as time expired. Then in overtime he kicker a 48 yarder for the winning points (final score: 29-26). It was a measure of redemption, or whatever similar term you prefer, as he had missed his previous game wining opportunity earlier in the season. His co-specialist and holder, punter Zoltan Mesko, commented afterward:
"It’s a good feeling and it’s probably the best feeling in the house for the guy next to me, Stephen. [I] never lost hope [in him]. He’s the guy we trust and he’s like a brother to me because we’re together all the time....
I mean we all as athletes have to have, I guess the word of the year is ‘amnesia’. I personally have this 24-hour period where I lick my wounds and then we move on and we learn from our mistakes."
In Oakland, the Raiders also completed their rally in overtime. Sebastian Janikowski hit a 40 yarder, his fourth field goal of the day, to give them a 26-23 win over Jacksonville. He had an earlier opportunity to win the game and break his co-owned NFL record for longest field goal, but came up short on a 64 yard attempt on the final play of regulation. As is oft the case, he did not speak to the media afterward. Of the players and coaches that did, nearly all of them referenced the sloppy game - including quarterback Carson Palmer:
"An ugly win is better than a pretty loss. I know that. I'm just proud of the way we fought because it wasn't pretty. We did not play up to our standard and play the way we're coached. But we hung in there and defense played great giving us the ball back. It's just good to get out of here with a win."

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Big Kickers on Campus, 2012 week 8

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

Freshman kicker Will Scott hit a 42 yard field goal with 11 seconds remaining to lift Troy 38-37 over Florida International
"I was saying go, go, go. It looked like it was going to be short; I had to talk to it a little bit.... I had a good feeling they were going to ice me when I went out there. They did what I thought they were going to do and it gave me a little extra time to think about it, which I like. I felt like my entire team had confidence in me because every time they came walking by they said, ‘You’ve got this, you’ve got this.’ I felt like they were behind me 100 percent. It was more of I didn’t want to let them down than the situation.... I just knew I had to get it off and give it a chance. It wasn’t a pretty kick, but luckily it went through."
Freshman kicker Jaden Oberkrom made six field goals (32, 41, 32, 45, 38 & 42 yards), the latter to tie the score with 18 seconds left, during TCU's 53-56 overtime loss to Texas Tech.

Sophomore kicker Jeremiah Detmer made five field goals (43, 42, 47, 20 & 25 yards) during Toledo's 29-23 win over Cincinnati.

Sophomore kicker Niklas Sade hit a 43 yard field goal with 32 seconds remaining to give North Carolina State a 20-18 win over Maryland.
"I know anywhere he [Coach O'Brien] puts me, I can make it. "I just ran out there and kicked it, and it's just unexplainable how I felt."  
Junior kicker Jarred Martin's 27-yard field goal with 6:55 left in the game proved to be the winning score as Angelo State won 17-16 over Texas A&M-Commerce.

Senior kicker Kelly Morgan's 35 yard field goal early in the fourth quarter were the winning points in Western Oregon's 20-17 win over Simon Fraser.

Junior kicker Brendan Gibbons made a 38 yard field goal with five seconds left to lift Michigan 12-10 over Michigan State.
"I was thinking about the seniors. That was my main goal, winning it for them. [They said] 'Gibby, go win the game for us. So I just went out there and won the game."
Senior kicker Bobby Hemmann hit a 38 yard field goal as time expired to lift Mount Ida College 24-21 over Maritime College.

Senior kicker Max Gabbard made a 35 yard field goal with 31 seconds remaining to give Wilmington College a 13-12 victory over Marietta, ending a 33 game losing streak.

Junior kicker Griffin Thomas' 44 yard field goal in overtime gave Jacksonville State a 31-28 win over Tennessee State.
“It was good to rebound; that was the main thing. I had a bad week last week and I wasn’t happy with that. I couldn’t think of a better way to come out this week.... I got further to the locker room this time, but I didn’t make it all the way inside. I ran into a brick wall. People were saying, ‘again, again’. Washaun [Ealey] called me ‘Clutch."
Freshman kicker Tyler Henning made a 27 yard field goal in overtime as Coast Guard beat Worcester State 31-28.

Junior kicker David Tomis' 44 yard field goal in overtime gave Elmhurst College a 45-42 win over Millikin.

Senior kicker Michel Chapuseaux made 35 yard field goal in overtime to give South Alabama a 37-34 win over Florida Atlantic.
"I had already been told they were probably going to ice me (call a timeout before his game-winning kick) and to stay out there and do some dry runs, so I expected it. When the time had come, my heart was pounding and I was nervous. I had to settle in because I've practiced so long for this. I was told it was going to come down to me. So I went out there and performed to whatever they expected me to....
I knew the team would expect me to make it, so I went out there and did it. When I start taking my steps over, I zone out everything and I tell myself to be ready for it. When I kicked it, I made sure it was between the posts and then I just turned around. I didn't even look at it. I just let the crowd tell me if it went in, and then I had a swarm of teammates just hitting me. We definitely needed this win; we wanted it more. We didn't give up, and this is definitely going to help us throughout the rest of the season. It's not going to be an easy game every game. It's going to come down to stuff like this."
Junior kicker Jordan Fredo made a 20 yard field goal with 11 seconds remaining to give Wilkes a 38-35 win over Stevenson.

Senior kicker Matt Turchin hit a 22 yard field goal with 10 seconds left in the game as Emory & Henry won 15-14 over Catholic.

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