the study of the kicking components within sports

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Connecticut Huskies 2013 Specialists

Our summer tour of FBS schools looks at the specialists for the Connecticut Huskies.

Kicker: Chad Christen, senior
(Etters, PA / Red Land HS)
"Even after six to eight weeks of rest, Christen's leg had not returned to normal. He underwent three MRIs to pinpoint the problem. Unable to kick with his full range of motion since the Louisville game, doctors discovered his rectus femoris muscle -- one of four quadriceps muscles -- had torn away from his hip. That's when UConn's medical staff, including the surgeon who operated on Christen, Dr. Michael E. Joyce, inquired with the New England Patriots medical staff about the surgery that prolonged Pats kicker Stephen Gostkowski's career, Christen said. Gostkowski had the same type of injury, and he was back on the field in the NFL. 'I felt more confident that a good kicker like him went through the same process,' Christen said.
Christen prepared for a summer spent trying to return to the kicker he had been before the injury. It meant a summer spent in Storrs, Conn., at the Huskies training facilities. It meant he needed to spend almost a month relying on crutches to navigate around campus. He spent weeks running in a pool. He spent days lifting light weights to regain the strength he lost. He spent workouts on an elliptical machine since he was not yet cleared for running on land. It has been a trying experience. 'I chucked my crutches as far as I could when I was done with them,' he said. But it also has been rewarding, because he still could return to the field for UConn's opener Aug. 29 against Towson University. Barring a setback, he will be cleared to resume kicking June 27. 'I wanted the best treatment I could find,' Christen said about the decision to rehab at UConn. 'It's not really a sacrifice, but I made the commitment for me to get back (before the start of the 2013 season).' If a kicker could recover, it would be Christen. A self-professed 'health freak and workout freak'."
8/14/13 update:  “Surgery was in March and we progressed through May. I was up here all summer long and working out with (UConn trainer) Bob Howard and his training staff just to get back healthy. I started kicking and in the month of July I would slowly, progressively get back into things. A lot of it is mental coming back from a surgery. The last two weeks of camp I just have to push through and I developed a lot through this process. I am kicking well and ready to come out and help us win ball games.“I started out with extra points and each week I moved back 10 yards and I am hitting 50-yarders now, so things are going well. The endurance of your leg is not where you need it to be because you haven’t been using it, but I am happy with how it is going.”
Kicker: Bobby Puyol, sophomore (North Palm Beach, FL / Dwyer HS)
"This offseason I've been just focusing on getting stronger, quicker, and mentally ready for the season. Doing different workouts our strength coaches have set up for us and doing things on my own like pool workouts to increase leg speed and a lot of mirror drills to get my form to be the same thing with every kick. This season I'm just working to succeed and hone every aspect of my game as I keep learning from Chad Christen, who's coming into his senior season."
Kicker: Ryan Wengryn, sophomore (Warwick, NY / Warwick Valley HS)
High School: during his senior year he hit 5 of 7 field goals with a long of 46, made 22 of 22 PATS, and totaled 502 yards on kickoffs.
Punter: Cole Wagner, senior (York, PA / York Suburban HS)
2012:  Of his 78 punts in 2012, 25 were inside the 20 and 18 were a fair catch...Is second in career punting average at 41.0 yards per punt, just 0.1 yards behind career leader Desi Cullen (2006-09)...Is also second in number of punts in a career (237) and second in net yards (9,710).
"Been working a lot on leg strength and my drop. Nike gave us a new football that requires a little bit of a different drop to open up the sweet spot. So just a lot of drop drills and kicking along with three trips out to Chicago to work with my kicking coach Filip Filopovic on my overall punting as well as a few different techniques or 'clubs' to add to my punting bag."
“I put in a lot of hard work so my leg is pretty good. I have been kicking pretty consistent every day, really turning my punts over, so I am really happy with how it has been going. (Long snapper Adam) Mueller has been snapping pretty well, coverage has been looking great, so we should have a big year on punt. I know it is my last year. I have had a good, long career, but I need to have that one big, big year and I am looking forward to doing it this year, and hopefully get a shot at the next level.”
Punter: Justin Wain, freshman (Wilmington, NC / Eugene Ashley HS)
High School: Lettermen at Euguene Ashley...Was Special Team MVP...Earned scholar-athlete honors.
Long snapper: Adam Mueller, junior (Park Ridge, IL / Maine Township South)
Returning starter has handled the long snapping each of the last two years.
High School: Earned two letters in football at Maine South ... Was starting center ... First team all-area ... Also played baseball and track
Long snapper: Dominick Manco, sophomore (Lagrangeville, NY / Arlington HS)
Joined the team as a walk-on for the 2011 season.

High School: Played both football and baseball at Arlington...Was a member of the National Honor Society.
Long snapper: William Oldach, sophomore (Hopkinton, MA / The Rivers School)
High School: New England Prep School Athletic Conference All-New England lineman in 2011 ... 2011 ESPN Massachusetts All-State Prep Team ... Totaled five varsity letters and captained both the football and track teams

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