the study of the kicking components within sports

Monday, December 30, 2013

NFL Week 17: Final Regular Season Kicks

San Francisco 23-20 over Arizona
49ers kicker Phil Dawson was wide on 27 yard attempt in the first quarter, but connected the from 56 yards early in the fourth quarter and from 40 yards as time expired for the game winner.
“Just poor execution on my part. Can’t take anything for granted. That’s why the two most hated words in football for me are chip shots, and I’m just glad it came down to the end and I could make one.”
Cardinals kicker Jay Feely was 2-of-4 on the day, connecting from 49 & 43 yards, but missing wide right on 37 & 43 yard attempts.
“You just got to make those kicks. No excuse, no reason not to.”
Green Bay 33-28 over Chicago
Packers kicker Mason Crosby made field goals of 33 & 27 yards during the win which put Green Bay in the playoffs. It also raised his season totals to 89.2% on field goals, which earned him an $800,00 incentive under his restructured contract.
“It’s not about that. I’m not thinking about what those dollar amounts are. It’s more I’m really happy with the percentage and how I finished this year. To finish off with two makes in Chicago and get the win, there’s nothing better than that.”
San Diego 27-24 over Kansas City
With the game tied in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter, Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop was wide right on a 41 yard potential game winner.
“We deserved to win the game.... When it was coming off my foot, it went a little farther right than I intended.”
The Chargers went on to win the game in overtime on a 36 yard field goal by Nick Novak. The win gave the Chargers the 6th and final playoff seed in the AFC. The Chiefs had already clinched the 5th spot.
"I never wish a guy to miss a kick like that. Good thing it doesn't end their season."
Denver 34-14 over Oakland
Broncos kicker Matt Prater made field goals of 34 & 54 yards in the game played at sea level. He subsequently commented on the long ball and his disparagers (for getting to kick at high altitude half the time, including on his NFL record kick the other week).
"I thought I was going to miss the (54-yard attempt) because I kicked the ground pretty bad.... No matter what you do, there's always going to be someone who tries to bring you down."

Adam Vinatieri Kicks for Over 2000 Points

During Indianapolis' 30-10 win over Jacksonville yesterday, Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri made three field goals and three extra points. That raises his career scoring total to 2006 points - fifth most in NFL history.
"It’s a good milestone. It’s a cool number. Keep going, keep driving, never stop.... At the beginning of the season I knew [2,000] was lingering out there. I knew we’d have to put a lot of points up and have a good season. Guys did great. I had a lot of opportunities to help our team put points on the board."

1 2,544 Morten Andersen  1982-2007 
2 2,434 Gary Anderson  1982-2004 
3 2,150 Jason Hanson  1992-2012 
4 2,062 John Carney  1988-2010 
5 2,006 Adam Vinatieri  1996-2013 
6 2,004 Matt Stover  1991-2009 
7 2,002 George Blanda  1949-1975 
8 1,983 Jason Elam  1993-2009 
9 1,970 John Kasay  1991-2011 
10 1,736 Norm Johnson  1982-1999 
11 1,721 David Akers  1998-2013 
12 1,711 Nick Lowery  1978-1996 
13 1,699 Jan Stenerud  1967-1985 
14 1,687 Ryan Longwell  1997-2012 
15 1,608 Lou Groza  1946-1967 
16 1,594 Eddie Murray  1980-2000 
17 1,584 Al Del Greco  1984-2000 
18 1,555 Olindo Mare  1997-2012 
19 1,489 Sebastian Janikowski  2000-2013 
20 1,476 Steve Christie  1990-2004 

Monday, December 23, 2013

NFL Week 16: Mason Crosby Scrums It & Mat McBriar Wings It

It wasn't just another day of special teams play in Pittsburgh's 38-31 win over Green Bay.

During the third quarter, Packers kicker Mason Crosby slipped on a 23 yard field goal attempt which was then blocked. In the ensuing scramble for the ball, the Steelers illegally batted the ball forward, which thus gave the ball back to the Packers.
"I don't know that rule very well. That's not one that happens all the time. I know batting is a penalty, but I didn't know it would get us the ball back. I'm happy it did, but we came out on the short end."
Referee Carl Cheffers noted:
“We ruled that the ball continued to be a loose ball throughout the play. Batting is an intentional act. You cannot do that in direction of your own goal line. So if you bat the ball forward, it is an illegal act. … The only place we can enforce the foul from is the previous spot.....

Any time the ball is behind the line of scrimmage on a blocked field goal like that, the offensive team has every right to advance the ball."
Earlier in the third quarter, the Steelers and punter Mat McBriar went to their bag of tricks. On a 4th-and-2, they went with a fake punt. McBriar completed a 30 yard pass to TE David Paulson to the 13 yard line. The Steelers scored a touchdown on the subsequent play.
"That would be my first pass, first I've attempted in 10 years of football....

Actually, Paulson was my second option. I've done it enough in practice that I felt really good about it, and I think everyone else did too. There were times a few weeks ago where maybe I thought, 'Well, this could be nuts.' But as I got more and more comfortable doing something I'm not used to doing, I felt better about it."

NFL Week 16: Nick Novak & Alex Henery & Kickoffs

Once again the post-game kicking talk features more than just placekicking and punting. Kickoffs remained a topic of discusion.

Following San Diego's 26-13 win over Oakland, Chargers kicker Nick Novak discussed his occasional role as a tackler on kickoffs (has has four tackles this year).
“Eleven guys is better than ten covering. Sometimes I get a little too deep. But I try to get right there in the gap, so when those guys come out there’s no room for them to juke me.”
Philadelphia's kickoff strategy didn't work out quite so well last week. This week they fared better, during their 54-11 win over Chicago. Eagles kicker Alex Henery discussed their approach to contain Bears returner Devin Hester:
“We tried to pin them back there with a little bit longer than the mortar kicks. We covered great and were able to keep them inside the 20 most of the game. That was big. Our scheme worked well this week and we stuck to it.”
Eagles head  coach Chip Kelly added:
"I said it last week.  It depends on the scheme you're running, who is the guy back there and what do they do.  We felt like we had a good plan with what Coach Fipp was putting together.  That was our plan.  We make adjustments every week no matter who we're playing."

NFL Week 16: Adam Vinatieri Approaches Milestone & Ryan Succop Jerseys a Hot Item

The simple storyline is that Indianapolis won 23-7 over Kansas City yesterday. But there's more to it than that.

Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri scored 11 points (field goals of 46, 45 & 30 yards plus two extra points). That raises his career total 1994 points. Only six players have ever scored more - Morten Andersen, Gary Anderson, Jason Hanson, John Carney, Matt Stover and George Blanda. Vinatieri could have been just three points shy of the 200 mark, but he was wide left on a 30 yard attempt in the first quarter.
"That’s one you’ve got to make, dang it. I just missed it. Simple as that."
Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop was still basking in the recent publicity from when Miami Heat basketball star LeBron James donned a No. 6 Chiefs-Succop jersey during a postgame interview on Friday.
"I didn’t know about it until I got to work on Saturday. As soon as I walked in, all the guys were like, ‘Hey man, LeBron was wearing your jersey, what's up with that?’ So I just played it off and acted like we were boys....

No, that was pretty neat. That was pretty cool. It's good to see that maybe he’s a Chiefs fan. Who knows? I’m definitely not complaining."

NFL Week 16: Streaks End for Justin Tucker & Steven Hauschka

Ravens kicker Justin Tucker saw his streak of 33 consecutive field goals end in Baltimore's 41-7 loss to New England. He was wide left on a 37 yard attempt in the fourth quarter.
“Just to put it simply, I missed the ball. I didn’t hit it. I was kind of struggling with foot-to-ball contact throughout the day on the sideline warming up and before the game. Usually, I can just kind of grind through. At the end of the day, you got to be a little disappointed with the result....

I’ve got experiences personally I can draw on where I struggled in one game and I had a couple of misses. Just like anybody else in here, the focus is on next week, bouncing back and giving ourselves the best chance we can to make a run at this thing and make sure we’re playing football in January.”
Seahawks kicker Steven Hauschka saw his streak of 22 consecutive field goals end in Seattle's 17-10 loss to Arizona. He hit the upright on a 24 yard attempt in the second quarter.  
"We're a team out there, and we pride ourselves in that and we succeed as a team and we fail as a team. Things didn't go right in that moment, and it wasn't a good operation as a unit out there."

NFL Week 16: New Yorkers Josh Brown & Nick Folk

Both New York teams won in the NFL yesterday. Both teams' kickers were involved.

Jets kicker Nick Folk hit a modest 21 yard field goal at the end of the second quarter to tie the game heading into halftime. It was his 20th consecutive successful home field attempt, setting a new franchise record (although the streak ended in the third quarter when his 49 yard attempt hit the upright). New York went on to win 24-13 over Cleveland.
"That was a momentum-builder for us. To just get points on the board and even it up at that point was just great for the team.

I feel comfortable here at MetLife. I feel for the most part it's a good stadium to kick in. I enjoy playing here. And now maybe we can get a couple of more this coming more this week at Miami and end the season on a hot note."
Giants kicker Josh Brown had a higher profile in his game. Seven and a half minutes into over time, his game-winning 45 yard field goal, following the requisite icing timeout, gave New York a 23-20 victory over Detroit.
“It’s one of those things I don’t jump up in there and say, ‘Yes, yes, yes, give it to me, give it to me’. Because I would do that. If [Tom Coughlin] asked me, I would say, yes, absolutely, let’s kick this. I’m just going to stand back and if he looks at me and gives me the opportunity, absolutely, I’ll take it. But it’s his call and it’s got to be a team win. It’s got to be the best situation for the team....

“It’s stuff that you would expect. You know they’ve got timeouts. You don’t know exactly what they’re going to do, but I think, for me, if there are no butterflies, there’s something wrong with me. That’s such a huge moment, no matter how many times you do it, whether it’s your first time or your hundredth time....

You consistently do the same things and your body just kind of stays in the moment at all times. And you don’t allow your brain to go somewhere else. So I’m not on the plane, I’m not at home, I’m right there in the moment.”

Thursday, December 19, 2013

D2 Advice to Aspiring Kickers & Punters, part 3

Our annual college Q&A series continues within Division II. We asked senior kickers and punters the following question:
What lesser known kicking and/or punting item did you learn during your college career that you'd like to pass along to aspiring high school specialists?
For responses, also see part 1 and part 2. Following is the third and final batch of responses:

Connor Frazell, Pittsburgh State
"I would say to 'see' yourself and envision yourself making every single kick perfectly. When you're laying in bed at night and can't sleep, see yourself kicking perfectly. It carries over to the field and gives you more confidence."

Austin Anthony, Wingate
"The most important punt is the next punt. That's all I focused on, no matter what is happening in the game or how I was playing in the game. I treated each punt as a single opportunity, not thinking ahead or thinking about the past."

Stefan Terleckyj, Wayne State
"Take advantage of all the resources at your disposal because every little bit helps."

Angel Millan, Texas A&M Kingsville
"Your drop is obviously extremely important. Short smooth steps get you bigger punts. There are particular ways to hold the ball depending on what you want to do with it, for example, there is a low drop for punting into the wind, belly button height drop for high ball (make sure to emphasize getting leg up as high as possible) and finally my favorite the Aussie punt which has a kickoff/field goal rotation and in most cases the ball only bounces two ways forward or back."

James Neal, Lindenwood
"I have learned with my size not being as big as others to utilize my full body in my kicks. Using more rotation in my non kicking side shoulder improved my accuracy. This arm acts like a counter weight that keeps my posture upright and my hips facing my target as my leg swings through the ball. Maintaining my lower back strength and core really is a key to my power and is the location where the upper body's momentum can be transferred down to the lower body for stronger kicks. I'm in graduate school at Lindenwood University and I'm studying human performance. I plan on coaching in the future and I love researching new ways to improve kicking."

Benjamin Noboa, Brevard
"Not to over kick your leg, even if you aren't having a good day and making what you should be, always know the point at which you should stop so you don't pull something. Also, stretch really well before even thinking about kicking a football. As far as game situation goes, always lock in and be focused on telling yourself that you can make it. The moment you think of something else or that you don't think you can make it, you will miss it. If it happens to be that you do miss it, you need to put that kick behind you. Never dwell on what happened on the past kick, because you will have plenty of more opportunities to kick there after. Also, always trust that your snapper will get the ball back to your holder's hands and that he gets the ball down, then just do what you have been taught and everything will go smooth."

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

And the Winner Is... West Texas A&M Kicker Sergio Castillo

West Texas A&M University senior place-kicker Sergio Castillo (La Joya, TX) is the recipient of the 2013 Fred Mitchell Award. The Award is provided to the nation’s top place-kicker in FCS, Division II, Division III, NAIA and NJCAA for excellence on the football field and in the community. Over 750 place-kickers are eligible.

The Award is named for Fred Mitchell, the All-American place-kicker from Wittenberg University and longtime sports columnist for the Chicago Tribune. Mitchell said, “It is a thrill to congratulate Sergio as the first Division II kicker to receive the Fred Mitchell Award. With more than 750 place-kickers to choose from, we are extremely proud to recognize Sergio among a stellar group of nominees. Sergio’s record-setting season and career are very impressive. He led the Buffs in scoring while playing a key role in the team’s successful playoff run and 11-3 record. He is a very accurate kicker, having made 62 of 79 career field goals and 251 of 255 extra points. Sergio has focused his community service efforts on mentoring young people. Our Selection Committee is quite impressed with Sergio.”

“I am really honored to receive such an outstanding award and it is a blessing,” Castillo said.  “I am glad I can represent WT with this honor and I want to thank my teammates and coaches for the opportunity to be a Buffalo.  I also want to thank the Selection Committee for choosing me for this award and I look forward to meeting them.”

Castillo volunteers weekly in the Students in Free Enterprise program to assist troubled youth with math, life lessons, college planning and job interviews.  He is a regular speaker in Amarillo in the Step Up to Success program, where he counsels high school and middle school students.  As a Toys for Juarez volunteer, he collects and distributes toys to children in Juarez, Mexico. He is a Huddle Leader, member of the football team’s Bible study and Fellowship of Christian Athletes member.

Head Coach Mike Nesbitt said, “Sergio is very deserving of the Fred Mitchell Award.  He embodies all that is good about college athletics. His hard work, discipline and outstanding character sets him apart from anyone else.  I am proud to know Sergio and it has been a great honor to coach him.”

The Award’s Selection Committee Chairman, Chris Kearney, said, “There were dozens of terrific candidates for this Award. In fact, 34 place-kickers were nominated by their schools for consideration. We recognized Sergio during the season for his record-setting performance in 2013 and we have followed his season closely. His 437 career points ranks first in school, conference and Division II history. We are looking forward to honoring Sergio on February 17, 2014 during the National Football Foundation Chicago Metro Chapter Awards Ceremony.”

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

NFL Week 15: Justin Tucker Kicks and Kicks and Kicks and...

The kicking began in pregame warmups for Ravens kicker Justin Tucker.
"I backed up in pregame to 70 and I doinked one off the crossbar. I almost broke one of those like $50,000 cameras that's on the goalposts."
In the game, which Baltimore won 18-16 over Detroit, Tucker accounted for all of his team's points. He gave them a 9-7 half time lead, after second quarter field goals of 29, 24 & 32 yards. In the second half he started going longer, beginning with a 49 yarder in the third quarter. He opened the fourth quarter scoring  with a 53 yard field goal. He save the biggest for last, after the Lions had taken a late one point lead. With 38 seconds remaining, Tucker hit a 61 yard game winner.

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said of the final kick:
“I thought we had a real good shot at it. What we wanted to do was run up there and make it appear that we were going to run a play perhaps and try to get the clock run down as low as we possibly could. I got a little antsy and called a timeout because I just wanted to make sure that we didn’t flinch or anything like that....

“What can you say about Justin Tucker? He told me when we got the ball, I think at the [Lions'] 45-yard line, I said, ‘hey, are we kicking this' or should I got for it on fourth-and-10? And he said, 'I got it'. He kind of ordered me to kick it."
Afterward, Tucker confirmed he had given the orders.
“I wanted [Harbaugh] to know that just by looking at me, he shouldn't have any reservations about sending me out there. [The coaches] were talking about it and I normally wouldn't do this but I interjected and said, ‘No, I got this.' Thankfully they gave me an opportunity and the best part of it is I didn't have to come back to the sideline feeling like a jerk if I missed it....

I definitely felt like I got a lot of leg into it, but it jumped up so high that I thought I might have gotten under it just a little bit. But when it cleared the crossbar and I saw one of the officials put his hands up, I [was] a little surprised but at the end of the day, I'm just glad it went through.”
While Ravens fans were obviously happy with the outcome, there was some other people pleased with the six field goals, as Tucker himself noted:
"My fantasy team is benefiting from it. Fantasy owners around the world: I hope you appreciate the points."

Monday, December 16, 2013

NFL Week 15: Jay Feely Wins It, Mike Nugent Punts It

In overtime, Arizona won 37-34 over Tennessee on a 41 yard field goal. Kicker Jay Feely said of the team afterward:
“We’re not the old Cardinals...

I think it just goes to the character we have. We don’t quit or get down on each other. You didn’t see the offense yelling at the special teams or the defense or anything. The guys in this locker room really like each other, and that come through in those moments when you have adversity.”
Not only did the Bengals lose 20-30 to Pittsburgh, they also lost their starting punter. Kevin Huber suffered a broken jaw while being hit on a punt return late in the first quarter. For the remainder of the game, kicker Mike Nugent took over the punting duties. He averaged 40.0 yards on a pair of punts.
“I just want to see how Kevin is doing. Seeing someone laying like that, face down, you never want to see that, whether it's your team or their team....

I hit a (fake) field goal punt in '06 or '07, but I haven't punted since high school. Our special teams coach keeps us in a good mindset in case things like that happen in a game. The case was that our punter was out, and I had to do what I could to give us decent field position and not make it tough on the defense.”

NFL Week 15: Josh Scobee & Mason Crosby Go Long, Dan Bailey Goes for Quantity

In the third quarter of Jacksonville's 27-20 loss to Buffalo,  Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee hit a 55 yarder.
“The wind was left to right, not really with or against me. I was trying to drive it through the wind, but not as low as I hit it.”
In the first quarter of Green Bay's 37-36 win at Dallas, Packers kicker Mason Crosby hit a 57 yarder.
"I thought about it after I made the kick. I'm standing in the middle of the star on this field goal. That could be a cool one down the line, if I can find a cool shot. I was glad I could capitalize there early in the game."
Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey was busy on the day, kicking five field goals (47, 23, 43, 50 & 50 yards). He was hoping for a late shot at a sixth one.
“Obviously today points were a premium. It’s just too bad we didn’t have more than they did at the end of the game....

There’s a minute and a half left and we had a chance to win the game, so we’ve been in those situations before. I had all the confidence in the world that we were going to go down and put the final points on the board. Sometimes it doesn’t work out your way.”

NFL Week 15: Kickoffs by Alex Henry & Stephen Gostkowski

Kickoffs were a topic of discussion following two of yesterday's NFL games.

The Eagles focused on keeping the ball out of the hands of the Vikings' dangerous return men. However the short kickoffs ended up giving the Vikings excellent field position on numerous droves. Minnesota won 48-30 over Philadelphia. Eagles kicker Alex Henery noted afterward:

“It’s definitely not the thing I want to do. I want to hit the deep ball, but that’s the scheme we had all week and obviously we were sticking to it. We didn’t want [kickoff returner Cordarrelle Patterson] or [punt returner Marcus Sherels] to take over the game in that aspect. We wanted to keep it in control.”
After having scored a go-ahead touchdown with four minutes remaining, the Patriots sent the ensuing kickoff out-of-bounds, setting up the Dolphins with a short field. Miami went on to score, and win 24-20 over New England. Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski, who also missed a 48 yard field goal in the third quarter, commented afterward:
"[On the kickoff] It's just a case of overkicking and trying to kill the ball. Not a good kick at all: Terrible timing, and it's a play I definitely wish I could take back. It stinks to lose, and it stinks to have an effect on the game like that....

[On the field goal attempt] I felt like I hit it pretty well. The wind was blowing left-to-right all day, and I played it left-middle, felt like I hit it right where I aimed but it just kind leaked left a little bit. It's upsetting. There's very few times where I feel like I hit a good kick and I miss. Usually you just hit a crappy kick. I felt like I put a good swing on it, it was a great operation. Today just wasn't my day."

Sunday, December 15, 2013

D2 Advice to Aspiring Kickers & Punters, part 2

Our annual college Q&A series continues within Division II. We asked senior kickers and punters the following question:
What lesser known kicking and/or punting item did you learn during your college career that you'd like to pass along to aspiring high school specialists?
For responses, also see part 1. Following is the second of three batches of responses:

Shawn Leo, West Chester
"Create a routine and stick with it. When I was in high school I didn't have a plan before I started kicking. I would kick my leg out. When I reached the college level I kicked everyday and I needed to save myself. I started a routine before I would practice that consisted of 4 no step field goals. Then move onto 4 one step kicks. By then my leg was warm enough to then move onto my full steps. This allows me to be ready for practice or game while also save my leg for the long season."

Drew Patton, Northeastern State
"Make sure the mental aspect of kicking is always sharp. I kicked several game winners, got all-conference a few times, etc. But the hardest adjustment, and best thing I learned was to IMMEDIATELY shake off a miss. That's what will make a good kicker. Every kicker misses, and you're likely to miss the next one if you can't forget the last one."

Sergio Castillo, West Texas A&M
"Believe in yourself. Trust the form. Be able to grow out of your comfort zone to get better. Most of all, have fun and give thanks to the ones who helped you get where you are.- Galatians 6:9"

Curt Duncan, Carson-Newman
"Make your technique your own. Kicking is unusual in that there is not one way to do it. Take different information from different coaches and don't be fooled that you have to do it one way. The fun in kicking is that you can own it! Enjoy!" 

Jordan Ledvina, Michigan Tech
"The number one lesser known punting item that I have learned is the importance of changing field position. I came to Michigan Tech as a wide receiver until my third year. As an offensive player I was not as concerned at where the drive started as I do now since converting to punter. Looking after the game at 'affects of the kicking game', the net punting average compared to your opponent is an important stat. Net punting yards consists of everyone on the punt team, but more importantly for the punter to get the ball down field with a hang time that is sufficient enough for your teammates to make a tackle or for the returner to fair catch. Being a punter, you only have once chance to make a play so it is essential that from the snap, the ball coming off the foot, and making a play down field add up to a a great net punting average." 

Nathan Kadlecek, Harding
"1. You need rest. If you kick or punt everyday you won't have the energy or the power you are looking for on game day. Don't overdo it on game day warm ups, get a few good ones and consider yourself ready, you have been practicing all week and all season. 
2. If you have a 'bad' game, watch film, see if you need to tweak anything in your form and move on, there is no point in dwelling on a past poor performance. 
3. Get in a routine of how you do things on game day, it helps to keep your nerves in check because you are comfortable with the plan that you have. I know that is more than one but those are just a few tips that I wish I would have known a lot sooner."

Friday, December 13, 2013

And the Winners Are... Roberto Aguayo & Tom Hornsey

And the winners of the two big awards at the 2013 Home Depot College Football Awards are [drum roll]...

"He currently leads all kickers nationally with 147 points -- a total that is both an FSU and Atlantic Coast Conference record. In 13 games this season, Aguayo has outscored FSU opponents by himself 147-139. His 90-of-90 mark on extra points is an FBS all-time record. Aguayo is currently 19-of-20 on field goals with a long of 53. Aguayo set the school record with 70 consecutive made kicks to start his career. He has also been named First-Team All-ACC selection by the ACC coaches, a second-team selection by ACC media, a first-team All-American by USA TODAY Sports, Walter Camp and and a first-team freshman All-American by College Football News."
"Aguayo was named this year’s Lou Groza Award winner, which is represented to the top kicker in college football. Aguayo, a freshman, converted all 90 extra point attempts this season he was called on to try, and he successfully kicked 19 of 20 field goal attempts as well. In all, Aguayo accounted for 131 points for Florida State.
Aguayoa is Florida State’s third Lou Groza Award winner in program history. First awarded in 1992, Sebastian Janikowski won back-to-back Lou Groza Awards in 1998 and 1999. Graham Gano later won a Lour Groza Award for Florida State in 2008. Tulane is the only other school with multiple Lou Groza Award winners, with two. Aguayo beat out Texas kicker Anthony Fera and USF’s Marvin Kloss for the honor." - NBCSports
“I knew coming in I had big shoes to fill,” Aguayo said. “Hopefully I filled them pretty well coming here and winning this Groza Award....  Kicking University – that’s what it is. Just being next to them. Now I can be considered as good as Sebastian, as good as Graham. It’s unreal right now. I’m just trying to sink it all in.... It’s a great feeling. It’s just a blessing and it’s going to make me work that much harder coming in this offseason trying to come back here again.” -
Ray Guy Award: Tom Hornsey, Memphis
"Two-time Ray Guy Award Player of the Week honoree during a senior season in which he averaged 45.2 yards per punt ... Ranked eighth nationally in punting average ... Helped the Tigers post a 41.02 net punting average which ranked fourth nationally ... During the year had three of the 15 highest game punting averages in Memphis history ... Placed 29 of 62 punts inside opponents' 20-yard line (.468) ... The .468 percentage ranked fifth nationally ... The 29 punts downed inside the 20 ranks tied for third through the regular season ... Had 11 punts downed inside opponents' 10-yard line ... Opponents returned just 19 of his 62 punts (31 percent) for 136 yards (7.2 yards per return) ... Averaged better than 40 yards per punt 10 times during the season"
Hornsey, an Australian native, added to an impressive haul of postseason honors. Earlier this week he was named first-team All-American Athletic Conference and the league’s co-Special Teams Player of the Year. He also received first-team USA Today All-America recognition and was selected to the Walter Camp All-America second team. “It’s all been kind of surreal,” Hornsey said. “My strongest suit was (punting) inside the 20s. And that was something I was able to hang my hat on during my whole career.... This is something I can put on my résumé. I think it will help if teams have a 50-50 decision to make.” - CommercialAppeal
“I’m honored to receive the award,” Hornsey said. “To have my name next to Ray Guy is unbelievable. I’m excited. I can’t believe it.” Hornsey attended St. Joseph’s College and played Australian Rules Football and tennis as a prep athlete. He came to Memphis and became the starting punter right away, ranking fourth in Conference USA and 34th nationally in punting average as a freshman. “The goal was to become an American punter. I worked on technique and made a video. Memphis was one of teams interested. They sent me over there and I accepted.... The players at Memphis embraced me. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s been a fantastic journey.” - Augusta Chronicle

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Lou Groza & Ray Guy Awards - Candidates Comments

The Lou Groza Award and the Ray Guy Award, among some other awards, will be handed out tonight. In preparation, we've compiled recent comments from the three kickers and the three punters that are finalists.

Roberto Aguayo, Florida State (freshman) 
"It's fun. I made the top three and it's just a blessing. Now that we're here in Orlando, it's just fun seeing all these great athletes here and being next to them, it just makes you (know) — you're the real deal being here....

I feel like [coach Jimbo Fisher] thinks of me as a weapon. I feel like I've contributed a lot to the team.""
Anthony Fera, Texas (senior) 
"It’s been crazy, starting off with Penn State, going out there. I redshirted my freshman year. The next two years I played. Last year transferring here, the sanctions and stuff, that was a pretty crazy experience. Coming here I think was the right decision for me and my family. So it’s been pretty crazy. Now this year, I’m just trying to do the best I can."
Marvin Kloss, South Florida (junior)
“I couldn’t have imagined this a few months ago. It’s out of my hands now. I’m just enjoying this moment....

[If I win] I’ll go up there trying to speak, probably with a frog in my throat. I’m probably more at home on the field, trying to make a kick. But I’m excited to be here with everything this week. It has been a blast."
Tom Hornsey, Memphis (senior)
"The recognition I've been able to get has been rewarding for the work I've put in. It shows I've been doing the right things and the hard work has paid off. There have been plenty of days I've gone out there and questioned, 'Is it worth it?' when I'd go out there and couldn't hit a punt. But to push through and finally get this recognition has been fantastic. I'm honoured and humbled, also."
Cody Webster, Purdue (senior)
"Would it be weird if I asked Johnny Manziel for a picture? I think I’m going to ask him....
One thing I heard was (I) had a lot of opportunities this year because of the team, but there’s good punters on good teams. You don’t have a good punter because you have a bad team. You have a good punter because the coaches that are around you and the players that you play with and stuff like that. It’s not necessarily what team you play for that determines whether you’re a good punter or not.”...
 The best way for me to go out is to win the Ray Guy award. As for now, it’s been really good. From my freshman year up to my senior year, I only went up in things. I never really started out on first team and went to the third team. I always increased and got better each year, and I think that’s really good. The scary thing — I don’t think I’ve peaked yet. I’m still getting better.”
Drew Kaser, Texas A&M (sophomore)
"It is such a huge honor to be a finalist for the award. There are many great punters in college this year, it's hard to really minimize it just to us three. But I have some great competition with Cody Webster and Tom Hornsey. Both guys have had great years so it will be interesting to see who will win the award."

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Fred Mitchell Outstanding Place-Kicker Award 2013 Finalists

Ten finalists have been named for the 2013 Fred Mitchell Award, which is provided to the Football Championship Subdivision, Division II, Division III, NAIA or NJCAA place-kicker that excels on the football field and in the community. 

The place-kicker chosen for this Award will be announced on December 18, and he will be honored on February 17, 2014 at the National Football Foundation Chicago Chapter Awards Ceremony at Halas Hall in suburban Chicago.

There were 34 place-kickers nominated for this Award. The breakdown of the 10 finalists is as follows:
  • Collegiate Division – 3 FCS, 3 Division II, 2 Division III, 2 NAIA, 0 NJCAA
  • State – the place-kickers play at schools located in 9 different states
  • Year – 8 Seniors, 2 Juniors, 0 Sophomore, 0 Freshmen
  • Included on the Preseason Watch List for the 2013 Fred Mitchell Award - 6
In alphabetical order, the 10 finalists for the 2013 Fred Mitchell Award are listed below.

BEAU BAKER Cumberland University (Tennessee) – NAIA 
Senior from Mt. Juliet, TN….2nd on the team in scoring with 75 points from 12 of 13 FGs and 39 of 41 PATs….scored 7 points in 49-42 OT win against Pikeville on October 5…scored 9 points in 45-43 win over Union College on October 12….Worship Without Walls volunteer where he cleaned, organized and painted rooms at the Mt. Juliet Senior Citizens Center….Relay for Life fundraiser team co-captain….Sherry’s Run cancer research event volunteer as part of the football team’s clean-up efforts….Field Day volunteer with the football team at Sam Houston Elementary School 

SAM BROCKSHUS Minnesota State University – Division II 
Senior from Spencer, IA….led the 11-1 Mavericks in scoring with 108 points from 14 of 20 FG’s and 66 of 68 PAT’s….scored 13 points in 27-7win over Concordia-St. Paul on October 5….2012 Fred Mitchell Award Finalist in top 10…. career leading scorer with 365 points….owns school record for most career FG’s (52), PAT’s (209) and single-season PAT’s (66)…. averaged 57 yards on 93 kickoffs….member of school and NSIC Student-Athlete Advisory Committee….raised funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation….volunteers at youth and varsity football camps in his hometown….Fellowship of Christian Athletes….Kids Against Hunger volunteer….People and Christ Together food drive volunteer 

SERGIO CASTILLO West Texas A&M University – Division II 
Senior from La Joya, TX….led the 11-3 Buffs in scoring with 149 points on 24 of 30 FG’s and 77 of 78 PAT’s…. scored 10 points and made both FG’s all 4 PAT’s in 34-27 playoff win over #2 seed Ohio Dominican on November 30….scored 18 points in 90-57 win over McMurry on October 26….set school and conference record by making 12 PATs against McMurry breaking previous record of 11….tied own school-record with four FG’s in wins over Chadron State and at Midwestern State in regular season finale to help Buffs get into Division II playoffs… owns school records for most FG’s in a season (24), career FG’s (62) and consecutive PAT’s made (64)….251 of 255 career PAT’s and 62 of 79 career FG’s…made season-long 55-yard FG against Eastern New Mexico and also nearly made 67-yard FG in that game but was just short….broke the Conference record for career FG’s in 27-14 playoff win at Indianapolis on November 23 topping previous mark of 59 set between 1999-2002…ranks 1st in school, Conference and Division II history with 437 career points….broke the school record for career scoring on September 28 when he reached 343 points….broke the Conference scoring record of 339 that was set in 2008 and the Conference career PAT record of 213….First Team All-Conference selection this season….two-time Conference Special Teams Player of the Week…First Team Daktronics All-America selection last season and had a career-long 56-yard FG against Abilene Christian in 2012…scored eight points in 34-30 win over Angelo State on October 19....scored 11 points in 72-0 win over Central State on October 5 …weekly volunteer in Students in Free Enterprise to assist troubled youth with math, life lessons, college planning and job interviews…Step Up to Success volunteer speaker in Amarillo to counsel high school and middle school students….Toys for Juarez volunteer to collect toys in Amarillo and distribute them to children in Juarez, Mexico…Fellowship of Christian Athletes…Huddle Leader and member of the football team’s Bible study 

SAM COTE Wheaton College (Illinois) – Division III 
Junior from Wheaton, IL …2nd on the team in scoring with 83 points from 12 of 16 FG’s and 47 of 50 PAT’s….scored 6 points in 24-15 win over Augustana on October 5….CCIW Special Teams Player of the Week after 28-3 win over Elmhurst on October 19…..made 53-yard FG as time expired in the first half on October 26 against Illinois Wesleyan….averaged 56 yards on 24 kickoffs….made two mission trips through the Wheaton Football Ministry Partnership….served in ministry with FCA as an intern for the past three summers including leading a Summer Bible Study and leading a Speed Training Camp for six weeks….led the FCA mission trips for the past three years….campus representative for Compassion International….Chicago Hope Academy volunteer….leading ministry with Lead 222 by working with their student ministries conference in Germany 

DAN FISHER Bloomsburg University (Pennsylvania) – Division II 
Senior from Liverpool, PA….2nd on the 10-2 Huskies in scoring with 92 points from 11 of 15 FG’s and 59 of 60 PAT’s…. 2nd in Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference in kick scoring….set Conference records for most career FG’s, PAT’s and kicking points….tied for 5th all-time in Division II history with 57 career FG’s….named First Team All-Conference for the third season….scored 10 points in 52-38 win over East Stroudsburg on October 19….set the PSAC record with 51 career FG’s during 31-12 win over Kutztown on September 21 breaking a record that was set in 1992….set PSAC record for most career kicking points by scoring 11 points in 47-35 win at Edinboro on September 14….organized Kick for a Cure campaign to support the Angelman Syndrome Foundation to raise awareness and funds to cure a genetic disease that a close family friend has….raised nearly $6,400 raised in Kick for a Cure….helped renew a local town park as part of the Big Event community service program… Habitat for Humanity volunteer…Ronald McDonald House volunteer 

KRESIMIR IVKOVIC John Carroll University (Ohio) – Division III 
Junior from Euclid, Ohio … led the Blue Streaks in scoring with 117 points from 20 of 24 FG’s and 57 of 57 PAT’s … set numerous single season school records this year including most FG’s made, most FG’s attempts, most PAT’s made and most PAT attempts … tied the 23-year old Ohio Athletic Conference record with 20 FG’s in a season….helped John Carroll to enter the NCAA Division III Championship playoff field for the first time since 2002 … team finished the season 9-2….battled snow on November 23 to make all 3 FG’s and 1 PAT in a 25-16 playoff loss….named to the Team of the Week Presented by Scoutware for his performance against Baldwin Wallace where he made both of his FG attempts in John Carroll’s 27-7 win over the then-No. 23 Yellow Jackets including a career-long 45-yard FG … helped stake JCU to a 17-0 halftime lead and forced touchbacks on three of his five kickoffs … two-time Ohio Athletic Conference Special Teams Player of the Week earning honors after wins against Baldwin Wallace and Ohio Northern …scored 17 points against the Polar Bears … helped team to just second 9-0 start in school history and fourth NCAA Championship appearance … helped the Blue Streaks to be ranked as high as No. 9 in the Top 25 and the AFCA Top 25 … averaged 62 yards on 86 kickoffs….point person behind Kick-It campaign to raise awareness and funds for childhood cancer on JCU’s campus … football community raised $1,100 towards Kick-It against Heidelberg on November 9, well beyond Ivkovic’s goal … Kick-It is a program designed to raise money for pediatric, adolescent and young adult cancer research … volunteers for Cultivating the Community, an initiative where the football team interacts with surrounding communities to drive positive growth … helped clean, paint and perform yard work at Saint Thomas Aquinas Elementary through Volunteers for Cultivating the Community … tutors elementary students in reading and mathematics once a week through Champs Roxboro, a grant-funded enriched program designed to serve the needs of at-risk youth in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights School District … coaches youth soccer team as part of Croatian Community of Cleveland 

DYLAN LYNCH Jacksonville University (Florida) – FCS 
Senior from Jacksonville, FL….leads the team in scoring with 94 points from 11 of 19 FG’s and 61 of 61 PAT’s… has made 64 straight PATs dating back to 2012 … scored 10 points in 52-45 win over Campbell on October 19….set school record by scoring 15 points in a game, doing so twice in September….owns JU record for career FG’s (25) … averaged 63 yards on 73 kickoffs….spent five weeks this summer working a camp in Ocala, FL run by the Young Life Christian Association for middle school high school and special needs children … volunteered at a Lifeguards Without Borders Water Safety Camp run by the American Red Cross and the Police Athletic League of Jacksonville at a Jacksonville Beach event that taught ocean safety and how to surf for at risk children from the Community Connections Summer Camp … participated in youth football clinics held at JU 

ANDREW MUZLJAKOVICH Olivet Nazarene University (Illinois) – NAIA 
Senior from Vicksburg, MI….2nd on the Tigers in scoring with 58 points from 13 of 17 FG’s and 19 f 19 PAT’s ...2012 Fred Mitchell Award Finalist….named Mid-States Football Association Midwest League Special Teams Player of the Week four times in 2013 and nine times in his career….ranks 4th all-time in school history with 197 points… averaged 62 yards on 43 kickoffs….Orphan Outreach volunteer including mission trip to Guatemala to help the children at orphanages celebrate Christmas….collected food door-to-door for a local food pantry….helped remodel a local home and improve the landscaping for the school’s Habitat for Humanity 

TYLER SIEVERTSEN University of Northern Iowa – FCS 
Senior from Cedar Rapids, IA….leads the Panthers in scoring with 97 points from 21 of 27 FG’s and 34 of 34 PAT’s….2012 Fred Mitchell Award Finalist….scored 11 points including season-long 50-yard FG in 24-23 loss to #1 North Dakota State on October 5….scored 14 points against South Dakota State on October 26 and tied his career-high with 4 FG’s….converted all 4 PAT’s against South Dakota on October 19 to break the school record of 101 consecutive PAT’s….114 of 114 career PAT’s…..averaged 62 yards on 65 kickoffs….Just Read program volunteer to connect UNI student-athletes with elementary school students….Special Olympics volunteer….Kickers in the Midwest mentor…high school football camp volunteer….Salvation Army bell ringer 

GRIFFIN THOMAS Jacksonville State University (Alabama) - FCS 
Senior from Snellville, GA….2nd on the 11-3 Gamecocks in scoring with 128 points from 23 of 30 FG’s and 59 of 60 PAT’s…next playoff game is on December 14….scored 13 points including 47-yard FG in 55-14 playoff game win over Samford on November 30….scored 7 points in 31-10 playoff game win over McNeese on December 7….scored 10 points in 34-14 win over Tennessee Tech on October 26….set school record with 52-yard FG against Eastern Kentucky on November 9….scored school kicking record 16 points in 24-21 double OT win over North Alabama on September 14 including school record 5 FG’s in a game including career-high 51-yard FG becoming 3rd player in school history to make a 50+ yard FG….CFPA National Kicker of the Week and Ohio Valley Conference Co-Special Teams Player of the Week after win over North Alabama….made 25-yard FG as time expired to send game into OT against Murray State on September 28….averaging 62 yards on 94 kickoffs…Fellowship of Christian Athletes….Habitudes student leadership training volunteer….school tutor