the study of the kicking components within sports

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Indiana Hoosiers 2013 Specialists

Our summer tour of FBS schools looks at the specialists for the Indiana Hoosiers.

Kicker: Mitch Ewald, senior (Naperville, IL / Waubonsie Valley HS)
"Ewald isn't content to just do his own thing. He's a fifth-year senior who has handled Indiana's field goals and kickoffs for the past three seasons, so he feels some ownership of the team. 'I really wanted to step out of my comfort zone and be more vocal this year,' he said. 'Be more one of the guys rather than just the kicker specialist.' You rarely see kickers mentioned as team captains, but the Hoosiers will take leadership where they can get it. HC Kevin Wilson has thrown boatloads of freshmen into the fire the past two seasons, and last year's team had only three senior starters. Ewald is one of the lone true veterans who has played the past three seasons. Wilson said that in a vote for captains this spring, Ewald finished in the top six.' Our kids respect him a lot,' he said. 'Of course, that also tells you something about where our team is at right now.'
Even if Ewald were to just focus on his kicking, he'd be a valuable member of the team. He has made 44 of 55 kicks during his career and was second in the Big Ten in touchbacks on kickoffs last year. He needs just five more field goals to become Indiana's career leader and 13 to break the school's all-time extra points record. He will also likely pass Antwaan Randle El as the No. 2 scorer in Hoosiers history. 'I'd be lying if I told you I didn't know about it and wasn't looking forward to it,' Ewald said. 'But I'm not putting too much pressure on myself about it'." 
Punter: Eric Toth, sophomore (Indianapolis, IN / Brebeuf Jesuit)
2012: Took over the punting duties in week five ... punted 48 times for a 39.5 average ... placed seven punts inside the 20-yard line and recorded two 50-yarders (51, 50) ... also served as the team's holder

"During the offseason I've been lifting heavy weights and running. Along with working on my form and technique in regards to punting and kicking. My goals for the summer are to improve my flexibility. Become a more consistent punter. And to really work on strengthening my body. My goals for this upcoming season are to be a consistent punter every single game. To be a factor and a significant contributor every game. I want to be able to change the field position in our favor and to really assist the defense in that regard. Most importantly to go out there and do my job."
Punter: Nick Campos, freshman (Wheaton, IL / Wheaton-Warrenville South HS)
2012: Redshirted the 2012 season ... walk-on joined the program during preseason camp.
High School: second team all-state as a senior ... team's special teams player of the year and six times special teams player of the week ... two-year football and one-year volleyball letterwinner
Long snapper: Matt Dooley, junior (Phoenix, AZ / Scottsdale Christian Academy)
Team's long snapper each of the team's 24 games since the start of 2011 ... Academic All-Big Ten selection last year.
It’s an art form,” Dooley said. “My coach back home, Ben Bernard, just taught me. I snapped for two years straight, four days a week, 100 snaps a night, non-stop, no breaks. That’s the commitment it takes to be able to be good and to play in the Big Ten.” Long snapping is surely one of the most specialized jobs in football. Those whose job it is to spirit the football into a punter’s hands at 15 yards or a holder’s hands at seven spend hours — as Dooley alluded to — working purely on repetition and consistency. “Getting the same snap perfectly, over and over again,” Dooley said, when asked what he works on in practice each day, “just putting it right on the hip if it’s a punt, and if it’s a field goal, getting the laces right, making it easy for the holder and kicker to get a good operation time.”

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