the study of the kicking components within sports

Friday, September 6, 2013

UTEP Miners 2013 Specialists

Our summer tour of FBS schools looks at the specialists for the UTEP Miners.

9/6/13 punting update:

"After two days of booming the ball, UTEP coach Sean Kugler named freshman Matt Ruggles as the starting punter. He had said Monday that Chapin High School alum Brandon Moss was leading Jay Mattox in that battle. Mattox 'has consistently gotten better,' Kugler said. 'We may use Moss in certain situations'."
8/26/13 kicking update:

"After an encouraging week of place-kicking that finished with a perfect scrimmage Saturday, there is real hope they can be competent kicking the ball, and now the issue is finding a best option instead of the lesser of evils. The competition seems to be down to Mike Ruggles, who probably took the lead by making a 49-yarder Saturday, and Jay Mattox. 'We're doing a lot better overall,' Ruggles said."
Long snapper: Nick Dooley, sophomore (Scottsdale, AZ / Scottsdale Christian Academy)
2012: Played in all 12 games during campaign ... served as the Miners' long snapper for punts, field goals and PATs ... recorded one tackle on special teams.
Spring practices: "UTEP's lack of depth at kicker finally went past the critical mark as incumbent Steven Valadez joined the suspended list, leaving the Miners with zero kickers and only quarterback Carson Meger as an emergency punter. The Miners are now using a ball-launching machine as it's kicker. That machine has shown good consistency, but a lack of mobility.... One player caught in the crossfire of all this is sophomore deep snapper Nick Dooley, the sensation of last year's Camp Socorro and a returning starter who now has no one to snap to. He enlisted injured receiver Jordan Leslie to field a few snaps, but for the most part he watches practice alone instead of with other specialists. 'I work on my footwork,' he said."
Kicker/punter: Jay Mattox, freshman (Las Vegas, NV / Las Vegas HS)
High school: Competed three years at the varsity level ... connected on 22-of-30 field goals during his career, including a career-long 53-yard kick ... named to the All-State and All-Conference teams after his senior season ... also a member of his prep soccer team.
"It's an equal competition, I've got to work hard every day and someone has got to step up," said Mattox, who is the nominal No. 1 at the moment. "This is a big adjustment from high school. The tempo is so much faster. I've got to adjust and keep getting better." 
Kicker/punter: Tanner Kneisly, freshman (Easley, SC / Easley HS)
High school: Competed three years as a varsity kicker ... named MVP in two games during his senior season ... connected on 14-of-14 field goals, including a season-long 53-yard kick ... named All-Region in soccer ... ranked in the top three in the state at his position
"While the pressure will move up a notch today, Kneisly said he accomplished quite a bit in the first two practices. He certainly seems to have taken the lead in punting. Not having pads, 'helps you be a little more flexible. You can work on technique, and then when you get the shoulder pads on carry it over,' Kneisly said. "But the pressure of having a live rush does make a difference'."
Kicker/punter: Mikael Sroka, freshman (Argyle, TX / Liberty Christian HS)
High school: First Team All-State kicker and punter as a senior ... was a second team All-State punter as a junior ... garnered first team All-District accolades as a kicker and punter his senior season ... first team All-District punter and second team All-District kicker as a junior ... was perfect on PATs for his high school career (101-for-101)
Kicker/punter: Mike Ruggles, freshman (Lutz, FL / Steinbrenner HS)
High school: Played one year of varsity football ... earned All-Area honors, finishing 7-of-10 on field goals with a long of 40 yards ... also played soccer
"I've been kicking/punting a lot to try to be more consistent, and I still have the same goal, consistency is key."

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