the study of the kicking components within sports

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Mind Over Foot, part 2.1

Note: here is a repeat of one of our favorite posts from years gone by, which we had of course forgotten about after having emptied our minds...

What were they thinking? Answer: ideally, they weren't thinking.
 After kicking a game winning field goal in overtime last week, Jacksonville Jaguars' Josh Scobee commented:
“I have a routine in my mind and physically that I go through. I take my steps and tell myself to kick it right down the middle. Then all my thoughts are gone. I don’t give myself time for negative thoughts to creep in.”
In a recent interview, former Cal kicker Tyler Fredrickson was asked what went through his mind when he was about to kick. He responded:
"Hopefully nothing. It’s when you start thinking you get in trouble. At that point, if you can’t turn off your mind and simply operate on muscle memory you’re screwed. The doubt will 99.9% of the time get the best of you."
It is certainly not surprising that they gave the same answer. Virtually every kicker, coach, or anyone associated with kicking gives essentially the same answer. That got us to thinking about not thinking. The initial image that popped into our mind was that of a meditating Buddhist monk in a remote tranquil monastery somewhere high in the mountains. That is of course a marked visual contrast to a kicker standing in the middle of a football stadium surrounded by tens of thousands of screaming spectators. We figured that first image was either an oversimplification of a complex topic, a woefully inadequate comparison, and/or was flat out wrong. Consequently we consulted our friend the physio-losopher. It turns out we knew even less about nothing than we thought we did.
"Hmmm... Well that's complicated for being "nothing" :-)
It's a western misconception that "emptying the mind" is "nothing". Specifically, this "technique" is most commonly identified with Eastern meditation practices (which are lifestyle practices that are the foundations of religious / spiritual pursuits): India, China, Japan (Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism respectively). The "technique" - rather than being "emptiness" - is actually a one-pointed focus of concentration so that attention to other mental processes is withdrawn and they are not noticed by the conscious mind. the mind is abuzz with electrical activity. We only notice a portion of it.
When a person is falling asleep there is a phenomenon called "hypnagogic" imagery, where a person can be aware of this electrical activity - a "lucid dream," one where the person is aware that they are dreaming, is the same sort of phenomenon. the more intelligent a person is (the more structured access he has to his brain's activity) the more distracting that activity becomes. This is "not being able to see the forest for the trees" as the conscious mind is besieged with the electrical activity. We interpret the activity as images or thoughts, from very vague "senses" through to "lightening bolt" realizations of clarity depending on the brain structure (built by practice and experience over time).
"Emptying" the mind is placing attention on... something so abstract it can't be named. usually someone starts by focusing on a verse or image, then is able to focus on a non-mental experience like breathing, then "graduates" to "samadhi" which is a state of focus on *something* that can't be named or described. During this process, brain waves change. When samadhi is achieved, brain waves are mostly synchronized and of a particular frequency. It's not "nothing" nor is it "checking out" like being asleep. I suspect that if one could probe the brain one would find that activity in the frontal cortex (thinking about things) is synchronized with the more autonomic portions of the brain so that what is "thought about" in the frontal cortex is the "same" content as the autonomic portions."
Although many from the West associate these ideas with the East, similar applications can be found in various practices, cultures, religions, peoples throughout the world - "the drumming of Africa, the rocking and chanting of Judaism, the endurance dances of the plains Native Americans..." - just to name a few.

While we had already previously named this series of blog posts "mind over foot", in some ways "foot over mind" could be equally if not more appropriate.

Monday, February 25, 2013

NFL Scouting Combine 2013 - Strong, Fast & Athletic Specialists

While the position workouts were the primary focus for kickers and punters at the NFL Scouting Combine, several players did participate in the following day's optional drills (upon which the media and fans tend to obsess).

Bench Press Reps:
  • 24 LS Luke Ingram, Hawaii
  • 13 P Josh Hubner, Arizona State
  • 11 P Dylan Breeding, Arkansas
40 Yard Dash Times (seconds)
  • 4.74 K Dustin Hopkins, Florida State
  • 4.74 P Dylan Breeding, Arkansas
  • 5.05 LS Luke Ingram, Hawaii
Vertical Jump (inches)
  • 33.5 K Dustin Hopkins, Florida State
  • 29.0 P Dylan Breeding, Arkansas
 Broad Jump Distance (inches)
  • 116 K Dustin Hopkins, Florida State
  • 110 P Dylan Breeding, Arkansas
  • 106 LS Luke Ingram, Hawaii

Sunday, February 24, 2013

NFL Scouting Combine 2013 - Day 4 for the Kickers & Punters

The fourth and final day at the NFL Scouting Combine for the specialists included a few drills for some, watching their team mates, packing and heading home.

Quinn Sharp (Oklahoma State): Had a good time this week in Indy, great experience

Ryan Allen (Louisiana Tech): NFL Combine... It's been REAL, It's been FUN.. But hasn't been REAL FUN!! Haha Jk what an amazing opportunity!!
Brad Wing (LSU):
  • So grateful to have gone through the experience of the NFL combine. Learned so many valuable things in 3 days. Truly blessed.
  • Arrived with no bags, leaving with 2 full ones.  
Anthony Cantele (Kansas State): Headed home after a long week. What a great experience! Good luck to my brothers and !
Scott Kovanda (Ball State)
  • I had an awesome (and stressful) few days in Indy but always feels good to head back home!
  • I think I should be good on shoes for a while.... Blessed to have the opportunity to attend the combine!
Jeff Locke (UCLA): The was a great experience! Good luck to the and guys out there the next few days
Alex Dunnachie (Hawaii)
Josh Hubner (Arizona State): Getting on a plane in a few hours to come back home. What an experience.

Brett Maher (Nebraska): Off to catch my flight home! Glad I had this experience! Thanks to everyone again for the support

    Saturday, February 23, 2013

    NFL Scouting Combine 2013 - Day 3 for the Kickers & Punters

    The third day of the NFL Scouting Combine saw the kickers and punters on the field, not surprisingly doing a little kicking and punting.

    Anthony Cantele (Kansas State): About to workout!

    Josh Hubner (Arizona State): It's game day. Biggest day of my life. Can't wait to begin the next chapter.
    Ryan Allen (Louisiana Tech): Had a great time today working out at the combine!! What an amazing experience and opportunity!!

    Alex Dunnachie (Hawaii): Nailed it. Went balls deep. Then went with some precision balls.

    The observer from the Senior Bowl provided the following thoughts:
    • Based on their performances, @seniorbowl thinks these prospects could be drafted. Punters: 1. Jeff Locke/UCLA, 2. Ryan Allen/La Tech.
    • Kickoff Specialists/Placekickers 1. Caleb Sturgis/Florida, 2. Dustin Hopkins/FSU. Sturgis 12-for-12 on FG's. Hopkins 11-for-12.
    • Sturgis has an explosive leg and landed his kickoffs, on avg, 8 yards deep in the EZ. On avg, Hopkins drove his 6 yards deep.
    The National Football Post's Russ Lande felt the top four specialist performances were:
    • 1. Caleb Sturgis (Florida): On a day where many of the place kickers and punters struggled with consistency, Sturgis stood out as the most impressive specialist today. He clearly showed the strongest leg throughout the workout. On kickoffs, Sturgis was crushing the ball driving three out of the end-zone. Not only did he smash the ball on kickoffs, but he displayed excellent leg strength and accuracy on field goals hitting all three 50+ yarders.
    • 2. Dustin Hopkins (Florida State): While not as impressive as Sturgis, Hopkins also had a strong day today. He also displayed good length and hang-time on his kickoffs with good placement. In addition to kicking off well, Hopkins leg strength and accuracy allowed him to hit all three 50+ yard kicks.
    • 3. Bobby Cowan (Idaho): As Sturgis stood out amongst the place kickers, Cowan was clearly the best punter today. Cowan showed off a strong leg driving the ball extremely well initially. In the directional punting drill, Cowan was outstanding to the right nearly putting the ball into the barrel and while he was solid to the left he was not as impressive to that side.
    • 4. Scott Kovanda (Ball State): Following close behind Cowan was Ball State’s Scott Kovanda, who also happens to be one of the few punters I have ever come across who was one of the Captains of his college team. He was strong punting to both sides in the directional punting drill.

      Friday, February 22, 2013

      Name That Foot, episode 14

      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: he scored a lot of points during his career.
      Hint: he scored a lot of points during his career.
      Hint: he's scored a lot of points during his career.

      Bonus hint: 
        Main Entry: much
      Definition: a great deal
      Synonyms: a lot , abundance, all kinds of, amplitude, appreciable amount, barrel, breadth, completeness, copiousness, excess, exuberance, fullness, gobs, great quantity, heaps, loads, lots*, lump, mass, mess*, mountain, multiplicity, oodles*, overage, oversupply, pack, peck, pile, plentifulness, plenty, plethora, profuseness, riches, scads, sufficiency, superabundance, superfluity, thousands, tons, very much, volume, wealth

      The correct answers are: 
      A. Lui Passaglia, the highest scoring CFLplayer
      B. Tony Lockett, the highest scoring AFL player (where A stands for Australian, not Arena)
      C. Jonny Wilkinson, the highest scoring rugby kicker

      See The Feets With The Mostest for more details.

      NFL Scouting Combine 2013 - Day 2 for the Kickers & Punters

      After an exciting first day of travel and exams, the second day of the NFL Scouting Combine for kickers and punters featured the requisite media frenzy and awaiting day three to actually do some kicking and punting: 

      Josh Hubner (Arizona State): 24 hours from now I'll be kicking in front of the entire NFL professional staff. Thanks to all those who supported me along the way.
      Ryan Allen (Louisiana Tech): Cannot wait to go show my talent tomorrow in Lucas Oil Stadium!! Lets goo!!!!

      Scott Kovanda (Ball State):  
      • Another good day of testing and Interviews at the Combine. I'm looking forward to getting out on the field tomorrow to punt!
      •  Caught a snap of the Under Armour suit at the Combine.
      Alex Dunnachie (Hawaii):  
      • Tomorrow is show time. Punt day. Can't hold anything back now.  
      • We have the option of doing any of the testing we want. Punting is going to be the main thing. If I punt well enough, I won't have to run a 40. 
      • Been a crazy morning. Just finishing up with physicals but gotta go in for an MRI first.

        Thursday, February 21, 2013

        NFL Scouting Combine 2013 - Day 1 for the Kickers & Punters

        What did the first day of the NFL Scouting Combine look like from the vantage point of kickers and punters? According to the tweeting specialists, it looked like this:
          Jeff Locke (UCLA): It has never been easier to get up at 4 am! Very excited to head to Indianapolis for the today

          Brett Maher (Nebraska): At the airport headed for Indianapolis. Thanks to everyone for all of the support!

          • Next stop is Indianapolis.  
          • It is cold out here in Indy! ❄❄
          Anthony Cantele (Kansas State): Just landed in Indy. Ready for a great week! .
          Ryan Allen (Louisiana Tech): Off to the hospital for Pre-exam x-rays this morning.

          • About to get on a flight to Indianapolis, to take part in the 2013 NFL combine. It's about time to take the sheet off the showcase everyone.
          • Touchdown in Indy, and now it's time for blastoff.  
          • RT Josh Hubner () measured in @ 234 lbs, 6035 height, 10-1/2 inch hands, 34 inch arms, 80 inch wing span this morning @ the combine.

          Wednesday, February 20, 2013

          NFL Scouting Combine 2013: The Specialists

          The specialists arrive in Indianapolis next week. The NFL draft eligible players are part of the first batch of participants in this year's Scouting Combine. The itinerary for the group, which also includes offensive lineman and tight ends, spans four days:
          • Wednesday 20th: Travel to Indianapolis, Registration, Hospital Pre-Exam & X-rays, Orientation, Interviews
          • Thursday 21st: Measurements, Medical Examinations, Media, Interviews
          • Friday 22nd: NFLPA Meeting, Psychological Testing, PK/ST Workout, Interviews
          • Saturday 23rd: Workout (timing, stations, skill drills), Departure from Indianapolis
          • Anthony Cantele (Kansas State): Selected to the 2008 Kansas Shrine Bowl... Also lettered four years in soccer, leading his team to a state runner-up finish on two occasions... Was a three-time first team all-state, all-city and all-metro player, and the 2008 Kansas State Soccer Player of the Year.
          • Dustin Hopkins (Florida State): Was the consensus top-rated kicker in the country coming out of high school...two-time Texas 5A All-State selection...USA Today first team All-American as a senior...participated in the Under Armour All-America game.
          • Brett Maher (Nebraska): A Kearney native, Maher was one of five former walk-ons who were awarded a scholarship for the 2012 season. Maher made 20-of-27 field goals, while connecting on all 59 of his PAT attempts. His 20 field goals as a senior are second on the NU season chart, bettering his 2011 total by one. Maher scored 119 points to set a Nebraska record for most points scored in a season by a kicker.
          • Quinn Sharp (Oklahoma State): Over his final three seasons, he was named a first-team All-American as a kicker or a punter -- or both ... In 2011 he became the first person in the history of the Big 12 to be named all-conference as a punter and kicker, then he repeated that feat in 2012 ... Led the nation in touchbacks on kickoffs each of his four seasons.
          • Caleb Sturgis (Florida): The 28 field-goal attempts during the 2012 season were the second-most for a Gator, just shy of the record of 30 he set back in 2009…Compiled a 79.5 field goal percentage over his career, the second-most in school history, 10th in SEC history (min. 50 attempts) behind Jeff Chandler (83.8%).
          • Ryan Allen (Louisiana Tech): Allen became the first punter to ever win back-to-back Ray Guy Awards. Only played two years of football, earning letters both years as a punter/kicker at West Salem High School ... first team all-state punter and kicker in 2007 ... played in the Les Schwab All-Star Game in 2007.
          • Dylan Breeding (Arkansas): At Hoover High School, he was a member of two state runner-up teams. He also lettered in baseball. As a senior, he was named all-state after he punted 59 times for 2,447 yards, an average of 41.5 yards per punt, with a long of 59.
          • Bobby Cowan (Idaho): On Idaho’s single-season punts list, he is tied for first (88 in 2011) and has the No. 6 mark (70 in 2012) ... also has school record for single-season punting yards (4,084 in 2011 as well as fourth (3,018 in 2012) and 11th-best (2,618 in 2010) ... has second (46.4 in 2011), third (45.1 (2010), seventh (43.1 in 2012) and eighth (43.0 in 2009) single-season averages.
          • Alex Dunnachie (Hawaii): A 2008 graduate of Marcellin College in Bulleen, Victoria, Australia...participated in basketball, volleyball and Australian Rules Football...played nine years for the Banyule Bears Junior and Amateur Football 2008, named the Under-19 Best and Fairest Shooter, as well as Sharp Shooter, in the Victorian Amateur Football Association while scoring 58 goals for the Bears.
          • Josh Hubner (Arizona State): holds the record for most yards per punt in a single season at 47.1 (2012)...finished his ASU career with a 44 yard average, which ranks as the second highest career punting average in school history behind Stephen Baker (44.9, 1998-99)...recorded 29 punts over 50 yards, including 22 in 2012...placed 44 punts (38.6 percent) inside of the 20 with only 14 touchbacks.
          • Scott Kovanda (Ball State): Punted 229 times for 9,381 yards and a 41.0 average... the 229 punts is the fourth highest career total in Ball State history... 9,381 punt yards ranks fourth on Ball State's career chart... 41.0 career average ranks third on Ball State's all-time charts.
          • Jeff Locke (UCLA): 2012 - Saw action in all 14 games and handled the punting and kickoff duties ... Served as a special teams co-captain ... Semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award as the nation's top punter ... Named first-team All-Pac-12 by the league coaches, Phil Steele and ... Earned first-team all-conference academic team honors
          • Brad Wing (LSU): Left-footed punter who played in 23 games during his LSU career ... Finished with a 44.6 average on 118 punts ... The 44.6 career average ranks first in school history ... 48 of his 118 punts were downed inside the 20-yard line and 39 punt traveled 50 yards or more ... Australian native ... Opted to forgo his final two years at LSU and entered the NFL Draft following his sophomore season in 2012.
          Long Snapper:
          • Luke Ingram (Hawaii): Appeared in all 12 games during senior year…recorded three tackles… started all 52 games of his career…did not record one bad snap, that resulted in a miss or blocked kick over his career.

          Tuesday, February 19, 2013

          Massachusetts Kicking Innovator

          Amongst the Harvard University football records, Percy Haughton sits atop the list for longest punt - with an 86 yarder against Yale in 1897. Haughton would go on to coach Harvard, implementing his punting skills into his coaching strategies. Following Haughton's death in 1924, the Harvard Crimson ("nation's oldest continuously published daily college newspaper") published the following tribute.
          "One of the greatest punters the game has ever known. Haughton played on the University football teams of the three years from 1896 to 1899. For several years after his graduation he was an assistant coach in charge of the kickers on the Crimson squad, and in 1907, after a particularly disastrous season, he assumed complete control of the University's gridiron destinies. During the next eight years the Crimson reached the pinnacle of its football glory under his skillful guidance....

          Percy Haughton introduced countless innovations into the game which he loved, played and coached so well. One of the first of them was the "specialist". Hardly had he begun the career that was to lead him to fame when he startled the football world with a dramatic inspiration that gave the University a victory over Yale. To have a specialist ready for the crucial moment in a game when he would be most needed was an unheard of innovation. But when Kennard was rushed into the Yale game in 1908 to kick the winning points through a goal from the field the football world sat up and took notice of the new strategy. A little later in the same game, when the Crimson was hard pressed, another specialist was sent to the rescue, and Henry Sprague literally kicked his team out of the impending shadow of defeat."
          Haughton also introduced the use of assistant coaches. Lothrop Withington, one of his assistants, recollected on his bosses implementation of kicking into a highly successful game plan:
          "In his first years at Harvard, Haughton was faced with a dearth of backfield material and with the necessity of making ten yards in three downs, as was then the case. He turned to the development of the kicking game, reserving his offense for the breaks which he felt sure were to come with a perfected kicking game, combined with an outstanding defense.

          To this end, he, himself an expert punter, developed an offensive kicking attack, protection for the kicker, expert placing of the kick, good down-the-field coverage and a highly developed system of blocking to permit the returning of the opponent's kicks....

          Once the break in the game came, Haughton tried either power or surprise, and if these failed he resorted to the drop-kick. Kennard's drop kick won the first Harvard-Yale game for a Haughton coached team, 4-0. Brickley won many Princeton, Dartmouth and Yale games with his educated toe, climaxing his effort with five field goals in the Harvard-Yale game of 1913."
          In his book, Football How to Watch It, Haughton himself discussed the kicking game:
          "Hence, instead of the constantly recurring blocked kicks of the early nineties (in the Princeton-Harvard game of 1895 there were eight kicks blocked during the game) only on rare occasions does a well-drilled team of the present day experience this humiliation. For example, in 1909 Yale blocked a punt in the Harvard game, but from that time Harvard's kicking game perfected that not a single punt was blocked in a championship contest until the Princeton game of 1920.

          However, in individual skill the old-timers were as good, if not better than the present generation. Such men as Moffat who punted with either foot and who scored several drop-kicks while on the move are not to be equalled today. Such kickers as Bull, Butterworth, Trafford, Brooke, O'Day, Kernan, Coy and Felton showed such marked superiority over their opponents that the punt was used not only to kick their teams out of their own territory but, by a continuance of the same tactics, to reach a point well within the opponents' territory (sometimes referred to as "scoring distance") when the rushing game for the first time was brought into action."

          Sunday, February 17, 2013

          Pennsylvania Kicking Innovator

          Most Quaker fans remember coach George Woodruff for making the University of Pennsylvania elevens a dominant football powerhouse in the 90's. Kickology fans remember Woodruff for his innovative use of kicking. John H. Minds, a tackle for the '94-'97 squads, remembered things as follows:
          "The team was quite strong in the kicking department and used the punt as part of its regular running offensive plays. It kicked from the running formation, as often on first down as on any other down. It was a low, long hard to a spot difficult for the defense to reach, and dangerous to handle if reached. It was effective an made much ground. One first-down kick against Harvard, made in the northeast corner of Franklin Field, cleared Harvard's secondary defense and went out of bounds inside the five yard line in the southwestern corner of the field. It changed the complexion of the game."
          The following headline appeared in the New york Times during October 1901: Pennsylvania's Coach Has Invented a New Form of Kick-Off.
          "He is responsible for an introduction which promises to revolutionize the kickoff. The ball is placed horizontal with the goal posts. Instead of kicking the ball as far into the opponent's territory as possible, care was taken to have it go just beyond the ten yards required by rule. The ball was placed on the mark denoting the center of the field, parallel with the line instead of at right angles, one end being raised slightly higher than the other.

          By thus placing the ball and kicking on either end it would produce a revolving motion and shoot off to the opposite side to which it was kicked. With the side kicking off having all its players on a line with the ball, the chances highly favor the team getting the ball again if it just goes within the ten yard limit.

          This is true for two reasons. First, because it is much easier to fall on a ball while running with its motion than to attempt to gain its possession by meeting it in an opposite direction, and second, the side kicking off has all its men on a line with the ball. This is quite a unique play, and should be worked with success a few times in each game."
          The onside kick is still used today, although not several times every game. It occurs either late in the game when a team that scores is still trailing or as a rare surprise, such as to open the second half of the Super Bowl. Even rarer today is another Woodruff innovation - the "quarterback kick". Its descendant, the "pooch punt", was occasionally used by quarterback John Elway. Woodruff's original version entailed the quarterback kicking the ball over the surprised opposing line and watching one of his team mates recover the ball. Back in the day, a punted ball was still live and could be recovered by the kicking team, regardless of whether the ball was touched by the defense. While quarterbacks occasionally got in on the kicking, the running backs were the ones who most often used their feet. The stats summary from a 1901 game between Pennsylvania and Hardard illustrates the role of offensive kicking at that time:
          In the first half Harvard rushed 54 times gaining 299 yards, and Pennsylvania 21 times for 39 yards. Harvard kicked 6 times for 225 yards, and Pennsylvania 6 times for 205 yards. In running back kicks Harvard gained 103 yards and Pennsylvania 88. Harvard was forced to punt 4 times and Pennsylvania 6 times. On fumbles Harvard lost the ball twice and Pennsylvania once. Ristine made the longest run of the game, 41 yards; and Putnam made the longest kick, from behind the goal line to the middle of the field.

          In the second half Harvard rushed 51 times for 205 yards and kicked twice for 52 yards. Pennsylvania rushed 16 times for 28 yards, gained 18 yards on a quarterback kick, and kicked 5 times for 142 yards. Harvard gained 34 yards and Pennsylvania 17 by running back kicks. Harvard was forced to kick 3 times and held for downs once. Pennsylvania was forced to kick 6 times. Harvard secured the ball twice on fumbles and once on a blocked kick. Pennsylvania lost 40 yards and Harvard 10 on off-side plays and interference.

          In the whole game Harvard rushed 105 times for 504 yards, and Pennsylvania 38 times for 83 yards. Harvard kicked 8 times for 277 yards, and Pennsylvania 11 times for 347 yards. In running back kicks Harvard gained 137 yards and Pennsylvania 105 yards.

          Friday, February 15, 2013

          The 2013 "Off"-Season

          With the Super Bowl now in the books, it may seem like another football season is over, but there will still be plenty of football and consequently kicking in the so-called off-season. Note: events, names and dates will continue to be updated on the following lists as further information becomes available.

          NCAA College football
          All-Star Games: January 11th thru March 23rd
          National Signing Day: February 6th
          Pro Days Workouts: primarily March
          • Beginning March 1st with Purdue & Texas-El Paso
          • Thru April 2nd at Columbia
          National Football League (NFL)
          NFL Scouting Combine: February 20th - 26th
          • kickers: Brett Maher (Nebraska), Anthony Cantele (Kansas State), Dustin Hopkins (Florida State), Quinn Sharp (Oklahoma State), Caleb Sturgis (Florida)
          • punters: Josh Hubner (Arizona State), Scott Kovanda (Ball State), Bobby Cowan (Idaho), Ryan Allen (Louisiana Tech), Dylan Breeding (Arkansas), Alex Dunnachie (Hawaii), Jeff Locke (UCLA), Brad Wing (LSU)
          • snappers: Luke Ingram (Hawaii)
          Free agent signing period begins March 12th
          • UFA kickers:Rob Bironas, Josh Brown, Phil Dawson, Nick Folk, Shayne Graham, Jason Hanson, Steven Hauschka, Ryan Longwell, Olindo Mare, Nick Novak, Mike Nugent, Lawrence Tynes
          • UFA punters:Britton Colquitt, Dustin Colquitt, Nick Harris, Reggie Hodges, Kevin Huber, Donnie Jones, Shane Lechler, Pat McAfee, Brian Moorman, Sav Rocca
          • UFA snappers:Jon Dorenbos, Andrew Economos, Thomas Gafford, Greg Warren
          NFL Draft: April 25th - 27th
          Minicamps and OTAs: primarily May & June

          Canadian Football League (CFL)
          Free agent signing period begins February 15th
          CFL Evaluation Camp, March 22nd - 24th
          CFL Draft: May
          Indoor Football Leagues
          American Football - global 
          International Bowl: February 5th
          • Team USA: Matthew McCrane
          • World Team: Rafael Gaglianone, Louis-Phillipe Simoneau
          Round Ball (soccer, futbol, football)
          • MLS Preseason: January 18th – March 1st 
          • Africa Cup of Nations: January 19th – February 10th 
          • Copa Libertadores: January 22nd - July 24th 
          • CONCACAF U-20 Championship: February 18th – March 2nd  
          • MLS season opens: March 2nd 
          • CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal: March 5th-7th, 12th-13th 
          • NASL, USL PRO and National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) begin: April 
          • CONCACAF Champions League semifinals: April 2nd-4th, 9th-11th
          • UEFA Champions League quarterfinals: April 2nd-3rd, 9th-10th 
          • CONCACAF U-17 Championship: April 6th-18th
          • UEFA Champions League semifinals: April 23rd-24th, April 30th - May 1st 
          • CONCACAF Champions League final: April 24th & May 1st
          • UEFA Champions League final: May 25th

          Thursday, February 14, 2013

          IFL 2013 - The Kickers

          Another year of the  Indoor Football League kicks off this weekend with a pair of games. Several of the kickers from the league's nine teams gave us their thoughts on the upcoming season.

          Cedar Rapids Titans - Radamez Rubio Gaytan (Mexico City)

          Chicago Slaughter - Ryan Fillingim (Northern Illinois)
          "I'm excited for the season to start. I am ready to see what the IFL season is like. I'm looking to take it one game at a time and focus on creating success, both myself and my teammates."
          Colorado Ice - Aric Goodman (Colorado)
          "I definitely learned a lot last season. Had a decent year that I can now build on. Kicking in the IFL requires some creativity (for example, Sioux Falls' arena has a walkway that extends a few feet over the field, lower hanging scoreboards, etc.) as well as the ability to bounce back from misses. In this league, you're going to miss kicks. With the narrow uprights, scoreboards/speakers, and missed field goals being placed on the opponents 5 yard line, coaches will try kicks that wouldn't be attempted in A1. Attempting 40 field goals in a season is more exciting than the low attempt rates of the AFL, but kicking out of your redzone regularly doesn't help your field goal percentage.

          My focus for the year is to continue having fun playing the game I love, and to stay healthy. Focus on what I can control....keep my head down and follow through, and let the crowd tell me if its good."
          Green Bay Blizzard - Jordan Wettstein (Minnesota)

          Nebraska Danger -  Joe Houston (USC)
          "A few observations from my experience... First and obviously there is a lot more scoring touchdowns since field is so short which means a lot more kicking, always fun. Secondly, and probably the most difficult for me, isn't the 9 feet wide uprights (I find narrow uprights fun). There is no net to warm up! Your standing in a packed hockey-like bench, no bike to warm up, no net. So you really have to hit the ball solid since the only time you kick in arena is warmup, halftime, and 4th down so that makes it interesting. I love the challenge of kicking at a smaller target vs NFL/college uprights."
          Sioux Falls Storm - Parker Douglass (South Dakota State) 
          "I took over 2.5 months off from kicking prior to camp and spent more time training in the weightroom and pool. The majority of the time, I practice kicking NFL footballs, so it takes a little bit of time getting used to the smaller, synthetic IFL balls. Otherwise, nothing that different [from previous years]."
          Texas Revolution - Brett Peddicord (Georgia Southern)
          "I'm elated to get this season 'kicked' off. I see the indoor game as the ultimate challenge for kickers due to the smaller uprights and also having to adjust kicks based upon the arena. It's an awesome opportunity to play and I'm honored to be a member of the 2013 championship team. Guys are already commenting about how our organization is better than they are used to. I know the ownership staff is making the players comfortable and doing a great job selling tickets. The coaches are motivating the players and installing some great plays. Top to bottom we are prepared for success.

          Not to mention for me personally, it'll be special kicking in front of my friends and family again. I loved Georgia Southern and my time playing in Poland [with the Warsaw Eagles]. But there's something special about home."
          Tri-Cities Fever - Brady Beeson (St. Thomas)
          "I'm very happy to be back in Tri-Cities playing under coach Shackleford and for such a great organization. The talent we have in camp in unbelievable. It is nice to be back with a strong comfort level and familiarity with how the arena game works. It has allowed me to get acclimated quicker, and really dial in. I think 2013 is a special year in the making for the Fever, and I'm very excited and humbled to be a part of it."
          Wyoming Cavalry - Josiah Powell (Saint Olaf College) 

          Arena-Indoor Kicker Signings

          Recent (last several months) kicker signings in leagues that use those skinny goalposts...

          AFL (Arena Football League)
          Cleveland Gladiators - Ross Gornall (Florida Atlantic)
          Iowa Barnstormers - Chris Gould (Virginia)
          New Orleans VooDoo - Gary Cismesia (Florida State)
          New Orleans VooDoo - Danny Hrappman (Southern Miss)
          Orlando Predators - Mark Lewis (Florida International)
          Philadelphia Soul - Carlos Martinez (Buena Vista) 
          Pittsburgh Power - Joshua Smith (St. Andrews)
          San Antonio Talons - Marc Demos (Northwestern)
          Spokane Shock - Kenny Spencer (North Alabama)
          Tampa Bay Storm - Juan Bongarra (Albany State)

          IFL (Indoor Football League)
          Cedar Rapids Titans - Radamez Rubio Gaytan (Mexico City)
          Chicago Slaughter - Chris Nendick (Northern Illinois)
          Chicago Slaughter - Ryan Fillingim (Northern Illinois)
          Colorado Ice - Aric Goodman (Colorado)
          Green Bay Blizzard - Jordan Wettstein (Minnesota)
          Nebraska Danger -  Joe Houston (USC)
          Sioux Falls Storm - Parker Douglass (South Dakota State) 
          Texas Revolution - Brett Peddicord (East Texas Baptist)
          Tri-Cities Fever - Brady Beeson (St. Thomas)
          Wyoming Cavalry - Josiah Powell (Saint Olaf College) 

          AIF (American Indoor Football)
          Harrisburg Stampede - Erik Rockhold (Appalachian State)
          Roc City Thunder - Ricky Krautman (Syracuse) 
          York Capitals - J.R. Cipra (Ohio Northern) 
          York Capitals - John Moorhead (George Mason) 

          PIFL (Professional Indoor Football League)
          Alabama Hammers - Brian Jackson (Ball State) 
          Alabama Hammers - Geoff Boyer (Middle Tennessee State)
          Albany Panthers -  Ryan Gates (Gardner-Webb)
          Charlotte Speed - Julian Rauch (Appalachian State)
          Charlotte Speed - Evan Selman (Winston Salem State)
          Columbus Lions - Chandler Brooks (Auburn)
          Lehigh Valley - George Pierson (Kansas State)
          Louisiana Swashbucklers - Ernesto Lacayo (Hastings College)
          Richmond Raiders - T.C. Stevens (Hampden-Sydney)

          LSFL (Lone Star Football League)
          Laredo Rattlesnakes -  Blake Erickson (South Carolina)
          San Angelo Bandits - Shane Hudnall (TCU) 

          UIFL (Ultimate Indoor Football League)
          Florida Tarpons - Kyle Dougherty (Southern Illinois) 
          Georgia Rampage - Jaye Tyroff (Miami, FL)
          Lakeland Raiders - Carlos Ojeda (UCF / Webber International)
          Missouri Monsters - Carter Rethwisch (Central Methodist)
          Missouri Monsters - Morris Keseloff (Lindenwood)

          CIFL (Continental Indoor Football league)
          Detroit Thunder - Tone Woods (Grand Rapids Community College)
          Detroit Thunder - Musa Odeh (Wayne State)

          Erie Explosion - Shon Rowser (Western Carolina)
          Kane County Dawgs - Julie Harshbarger (Rockford College)
          Kane County Dawgs - Bobby Miller (North Central)
          Owensboro Rage - Brian Jessen (Indiana)
          Port Huron Patriots - Logan Mitseff (Adrian College)
          Saginaw Sting - Chris Kollias (Northwood)

          CPIFL (Champions Professional Indoor Football League)
          Bloomington Edge - Pete Christofilakos (Illinois)
          Kansas Koyotes - Chase McCoy (Pittsburg State KS) 
          Lincoln Haymakers - Mike Ziola (Chadron State)
          Lincoln Haymakers - Andrew Nielsen (Doane College) 
          MidMissouri Outlaws - Derek Doerfler (Baker)
          Oklahoma Defenders - Brandon Noahr (Bacone College)
          Oklahoma Defenders - Billy Perry (Greenville College)
          Omaha Beef - Lucas Tomlinson (Hastings College) 
          Omaha Beef - Mike Stillmock (Creighton)
          Salina Bombers - Corey Hoover (Missouri State)
          Salina Bombers - Andrew Hunt (Midland Lutheran)
          Sioux City Bandits - Nick Hope (Wayne State College)
          Sioux City Bandits - Max Martin (Wayne State College)
          Wichita Wild - Alex Fambrough (Bethany College)
          Wichita Wild - Austin Ledy (Southwestern College)

          If you know of any other kicker signings in any indoor league, please let us know!!!