the study of the kicking components within sports

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Florida International Golden Panthers 2013 Specialists

Our summer tour of FBS schools looks at the specialists for the Florida International Golden Panthers.

FIU will be breaking in three new specialists in 2013 after kicker Jack Griffin, punter Josh Brisk and long snapper Mitch MacClugage graduated.

Kicker: Sergio Sroka, freshman (Miami, FL / Belen Jesuit)
2013: Handled the majority of team kicking duties during spring practice.
2012: Redshirted the 2012 season.
High school: 2012 Miami Herald Class 8A-6A All-County Second-Team...participated in the Nike South Florida All-Star Game...kicked the winning field goal, 29-yards, as the Privates beat the Public, 18-17, in the TRU Sports Foundation’s Third Annual Private vs. Public All Star High School Football Game.
"Ultimately, it’s that leg talent that FIU football coach Ron Turner hopes to cultivate from Sroka, as the redshirt freshman will be the one called upon when the Panthers’ season starts Saturday. 'I’m really excited. I’ve been looking forward to this day ever since I put on an FIU uniform,' Sroka said of being the team’s first-team kicker. 'I’ve been waiting for this opportunity. I’m very anxious to see what comes out of it.' The battle for the starting job was one of the fiercest battles through fall practice. Sroka competed against three or four other kickers, and he certainly had his fair share of troubles throughout the process. Sroka appeared to fall behind at times. At one practice, he missed a kick and then had his subsequent attempt blocked. Turner called the kicking issues 'unacceptable.' But there was not denying Sroka’s talent. On Tuesday, he nailed two kicks easily toward the end of practice during 11-on-11 drills. The second was good enough for a 'win' for the offense....  in preparing for his first season as the starter for the Panthers, Sroka has already set his sights high if he’s called upon in a big spot. 'In college football, I’d love to have a game-winner against any team,' Sroka said. 'But with this schedule, it would have to be at Louisville. Last time we went over there we upset them, hopefully this year we beat them again'.”
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Kicker/punter: Austin Taylor, freshman (Punta Gorda, FL / Charlotte HS)
High school: kicked a winning 50-yard field goal as time expired in the Class 7A-District 11 tiebreaker against Port Charlotte, giving the Tarpons the district title…had a four-year total of 126-of-130 on extra points and 26-for-37 on field goals with a long of 57 yards against South Fort Myers…in 2012, went 33-of-36 on extra points, 10-for-16 on field goal attempts with a long of 57 yards…also had 39 touchbacks on 71 kickoffs in 2012…also punted in his junior and senior seasons, averaging just over 35 over two seasons…also played three seasons with soccer and one with track.
Kicker/punter: Carson Dietrich, freshman (Vero Beach, FL / Vero Beach HS)
High school: No. 1 kicking specialist by Friday Night Football Florida 2012…in 2012, recorded 31 touchbacks, made 7-of-9 field goals, 41 extra points and a 42.5 per punt average…career-long field goal was 44 yards
Kicker/punter: Cody Hodgens, freshman (Wesley Chapel, FL / Robinson HS) 
High school: as a punter during his senior season, had 30 attempts for 1,128 yards (37.6 avg.), a long of 48 and nine placed inside the 20...also played at Gaither (junior) and Wesley Chapel (freshman and sophomore) High Schools...coached at Robinson by Mike Depue...also played soccer, baseball and track.
Punter: Chris Ayers, freshman (Hollywood, FL / South Broward HS)
"This summer I've been working out a lot and also punting. I also have been staying mentally relaxed for this upcoming season."
2013: Lined up as the starter during spring practice.
2012: Redshirted the 2012 season.
High school: 2011 Associated Press Class 7A First Team All-State...2011 Miami Herald First Team All-Broward County...2011 South Florida Sun-Sentinel Second Team All-Broward County...listed on the South Roster for the 15th annual Broward County Athletic Association All-Star Football Classic...three-year varsity starters, had 53 punts for a 44-yard average with no returns as a senior.
Quarterback/punter: Jake Medlock, sophomore (Jacksonville, FL / Fletcher HS)
QB Medlock said of punting, "I've got to get back into it. I've got to take lessons from my little brother. He's been kicking the crap out of it so I've got to go back home and learn from him."
Long snapper: Brandon Taylor, sophomore (Slidell, LA / Northshore HS)
2013: Handled the majority of team long snapping duties during the spring.
2012: Redshirted the 2012 season.
2011 (Freshman): Appeared in the final five games of the season...played on special teams
High school: Specialized as the long snapper since his freshman year…actually starting long-snapping since the eighth grade
Long snapper: Sam Medlock, freshman (Jacksonville, FL / Fletcher HS)
High school: 2012 All-Gateway Conference First-Team…2012 Florida Times-Union All-First Coast Honorable Mention…played strong safety and long snapper
Final spring scrimmage:
Ayers averaged 39.3 yards on his three punts Saturday while Medlock averaged 38 yards on his two. Sroka hit five of six field goals, missing a 32-yarder and hitting a long of 47 yards.
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