The 2012 college football season kicks off this weekend with a full slate of games, including quite a few on Thursday evening. Various kickers and punters weighed in on various topics and matters over the past few weeks:
"Last season, he was Teggart's holder on field goals. And that taught him a little something about pressure. That aspect is awesome because I got to hold for Dave [Teggart last year] and the biggest thing about that is that it takes the snapper, the holder and the kicker to make it happen. So the pressure kicks? I probably was just as nervous as Dave was. Going out there being the holder and having game experience has really helped me the past two years....
The transition for me [from high school] was very tough. The situations, the level of intensity and the transition to the ground [from a tee] is just totally different. And the tempo of the game. The adjustment to that ... I think I broke through that and I think I'm at a level where I'm comfortable to go out there."
"Zero return yards. That’s the goal. I’m very observant, so I know what it takes to get to the next level, and numbers aren’t everything. I’ll take hang time and fair catches over distance and the possibility of a return any day, and I guarantee if you if you talk to any person affiliated with the NFL, they want the same."
“I made a profile online. Me and my buddies went out to the field one day and just made a video of some field goals and kickoffs and I put it up on YouTube. I put a link to my [recruiting] profile. Coach Sawyer called, and I just followed up with him and talked with him. They got me to come up here....
I have never been north of Tennessee. This is my first time in a cold weather environment like this. I have seen snow once or twice, but snow here is probably different than what I think of snow."
"[Nate Kaeding]’s been a great resource to me. When he was back in town, we would go out and kick. It was good to have another pair of eyes. … He always knew what was going on because he has been in more situations than I have."
"I’ve had a lot of improvement in the last few weeks. I’m getting smoother with steps and the timing is coming down every day I work with the snapper. I could be faster, but the process has been speeding up more and more since we had the kick scrimmage. In time it will come, especially being so young and getting this experience early, I have nowhere to go but up....
I’ve been waiting for it for a long time. Whether I was going to play or not, I’ve been waiting for my first college football game. It’s the first game so I think a lot of [students] want to get out here and see us. There’s a lot of hype about Kent State, so I think a lot of the community is going to come out here. That’s going to make it really exciting to be here."
Corey Acosta, Southern Miss kicker
"Danny [Hrapmann] was a great kicker who did some great things. Sure, he'll do great things on the next level. I'm just trying to do my own thing, not trying to live up to him. He and I are different kickers. If I tried to do everything he did, that just wouldn't work well for me....
That's something he taught me. He had a tough year his first year, but he bounced back better than ever. One thing I learned from him is no matter if you struggle, you can always get better. Don't listen to anybody outside the team. Keep working hard and good things happen."
Darragh O'Neill, Colorado punter
"The fatigue I felt last year directly correlated to a lack of flexibility. So I did a lot of flexibility stuff, a bunch of stretching and some fast-twitch things in the weight room that will help with hang time. I just have to make sure that I'm always stretching. That has shown massive improvement, even in terms of how my leg feels every day. To get better hang time, you have to get through the ball. Flexibility is a huge factor in that."
Matt Hogan, Houston kicker
Matt Hogan, Houston kicker
"Everything is mental. I didn’t believe it when I started but afterwards once you get down on yourself everything goes wrong. If you think right before a kick that you’re not going to make it, it’s not going to go through. I always say I’m going to make everything....
UH has gotten a lot bigger, growing as a family. It’s nice to be around these guys and Tony Levine. The coach who recruited me is now the head coach. He’s kind of like a friend, and a father figure, and a mentor in my eyes."
"This week, I just don’t want to think about the game, about 60,000 people, about it could be the last time we ever play West Virginia, about how if I screw up we’re going to lose the game. Punting the ball is punting the ball, no matter the game, and whether it’s Division I, II, III, whatever. I feel prepared now and I feel like I’ll feel prepared then. And when I take the field, I’ll be ready to go, to punt the ball, to hopefully help my team....
I’ve spent a lot of time talking to [various teammates] about the hype of the game, the importance of this game, the seriousness of this game. We have to get prepared and be ready to win, go in knowing we can win and having the ability to do so, having that in the back of your head, envisioning it even. But it’s all about being consistent every time you hit the field. Every play counts, every snap counts – but that’s the way it should be every game. People have told me how important my position is and how important it is that I prepare for this game. I really don’t think there’s a certain way to prepare. I think everyone is different; it’s one of those things you do your own thing. I’m going into a situation I’ve never done before, so you have to find a way [to prepare] for the game, watch film, whatever, but more just to get ready for the situation. You should really prepare like you do every game, whether it’s West Virginia, UCF, Tulsa, Houston. It doesn’t matter the opponent. Getting prepared for the game, any game, is all the same."