the study of the kicking components within sports

Friday, August 23, 2013

Louisville Cardinals 2013 Specialists

Our summer tour of FBS schools looks at the specialists for the Louisville Cardinals.

Kicker/punter: John Wallace, sophomore (Cecilia, KY / Central Hardin HS)
"Wallace was named to the initial watch list for the 2013 Lou Groza Award, which is given annually to the nation’s top kicker. Wallace, a Hardin County, KY., native had a big season as a redshirt freshman in 2012 taking over for Chris Philpott. He started the season 10-of-11 on field goals, with the only miss coming on a 57-yard attempt against Cincinnati. Wallace finished the season making 16-of-21 field goals earning honorable mention All American honors."
"His goal this season is to improve on that statistic, and it starts in a place not normally associated with kickers. 'We’ve been working really hard in the weight room,' said Wallace, who sometimes works out with the defensive backs instead of the other kickers. 'I think I’ve increased my distance on field goals by a few yards. We tried a few deep ones, and I’ve done a lot better than I did last year'.... Wallace also aims to increase his distance on kickoffs. Last season the Cardinals allowed opponents an average of 24.6 yards on kickoff returns, which ranked 114th in the FBS. They gave up two touchdown returns, one of only 15 teams to permit that many or more. Part of the problem came in the coverage itself, but Wallace figures he can help clean up that problem by making his kicks nonreturnable. He had only four touchbacks last season. 'I’ve been working on my form, just trying to get more of my body into the ball, more of my leg into the ball,' he said, admitting that his leg 'started wearing down towards the end of the season'.”
Kicker: Matt Nakatani, junior (Shelbyville, KY / Shelby County HS)
"This upcoming season will be a special season with the team we have coming back. I have been training in California over the summer and cant wait to get back to the team in a few weeks for training camp. We are looking to make another championship run and get to the National Championship this year. As far as myself, I'm getting better every day with the amount of work I am putting in. John and myself work with each other a lot. With us competing, it definitely brings out the best in us in every practice that translates to our games. Finally, I am taking in my last season with great attitude and not putting too much pressure on myself. Concentrating on my technique and watching an enormous amount of film will bring out the best in me again. I look forward to another great year and championship run!"
Kicker: Anthony George, freshman (Louisville, KY / Trinity HS)
"I played soccer all my life, including two years of varsity soccer at Trinity.  I was a starter on my club team, which was top 50 in the nation.  I switched over to football my senior year."
Punter: Ryan Johnson, junior (Louisville, KY / DeSales HS)
Spring Game: averaged 42.0 yards on five punts, long of 51 yards, placed one inside the 20

2012: Punted 49 times for an average of 39.4 yards per punt... Placed 20 punts inside the 20-yard line
Punter/kicker: Joshua Appleby, sophomore (Athens, AL / East Limestone HS)
"I have really been working on technique and not over powering the ball. I got into a lot of bad habits over this past season that I am trying to iron out by working with a few different kicking coaches. The main one being Craig Hentrich who formally punted for the Titans. I have been training hard running and lifting with my team trying to become the best athlete that I can. My personal goals are to have very consistent punts this this year, and have a good touchback percentage on kickoffs. I want to try and help my team out the best I can to win football games."
Long snapper: Grant Donovan, junior (Louisville, KY / Male HS)
Returning starter who played in 12 games last year.
Long snapper: Colin Holba, freshman (Louisville, KY / Eastern HS)
Walk-on who joined the team this year.

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