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Monday, October 5, 2015

Arizona State Sun Devils Kicker, Punter & Snapper News

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October 5, 2015 - punter Matt Haack named Pac-12 Special teams Player of the Week
"Haack, a junior punter from West Des Moines, Iowa, dropped a career-best five of his eight punts inside the 20-yard line and finished with 345 yards (43.1 average), including a long of 63. His previous career-high was three punts inside the top-20. Haack’s final kick of the game was one of the key plays of the game, as he pinned UCLA at its own one-yard line with five minutes remaining in the game. ASU picked up a safety on UCLA’s ensuing drive, and the Sun Devils scored the final touchdown of the game on their next drive. The only punt of Haack’s eight that was returned was his first of the game, and netted a negative of three yards." - Pac-12

February 20, 2015 - punter Trent Gilbert preferred walk-on
"Catching footballs can wait for Gilbert Higley wide receiver Trent Gilbert. Passing on football scholarship offers from smaller Division I colleges, the 6-foot-3, 195-pound senior will come to Arizona State as a preferred walk-on and, he said, immediately compete for the punting job. Gilbert averaged 41.5 yards a punt last season when he really stood out catching 57 passes for 1,179 yards and 15 touchdowns, making first-team All-Division III for a 7-4 team." - AZ Central

January 7, 2015 - kicker Edgar Gastelum a preferred walk-on 
"Cibola graduate and former Arizona Western kicker Edgar Gastelum is set to join the Arizona State University football team as a preferred walk-on. Gastelum, who played for Lucky Arvizo’s Raiders from 2011-13 and was AWC’s kicker/punter this past season, said he has been told he’ll have an opportunity to potentially handle kickoff duties for the Sun Devils. If he wins the job, he said, he’ll be awarded a scholarship in August. Gastelum will begin classes in Tempe on Monday and participate in spring ball with the Sun Devils." - Yuma Sun 

November 1, 2014 - Zane Gonzalez kicks OT game winner over Utah
It took overtime, but a 36-yard field goal sent the Sun Devils home with a 19-16 victory over Utah.When Zane Gonzalez took the field in overtime, the weight of the Pac-12 sat on his shoulders. Every other game had finished, and only No. 14 Arizona State and No. 17 Utah remained as one-loss teams in the Pac-12 South. Utah missed its shot in the extra time, and Gonzalez's kick would send the Sun Devils to first place in the division. The 36-yard attempt went up. 'I was just worried about the snap, I don't worry about him,' Graham said of his sophomore kicker. 'He's got a personality that gives you a lot of confidence. He's the best I've been around.' And when it came down between the yellow poles, the Sun Devils (7-1, 5-1 Pac-12) were all alone atop the Pac-12 South standings, winners of a 19-16 battle in front of 53,745.... Gonzalez hit the game-winner - by his recollection, his first since his junior year of high school - but it followed a missed 50-yard try in the second quarter, snapping a streak of seven consecutive successful kicks. He wanted the shot at redemption. 'I told (quarterback Taylor Kelly) early on, give me another chance,' Gonzalez said. And so he did. Kelly and the offense started from their own 26-yard line down 16-13 with 8:41 left in the game. When Kelly connected with redshirt junior Gary Chambers on a 31-yard pass to get to the 16-yard line, Gonzalez got his opportunity. He booted a 30-yard field goal to tie the game, where the score would stay until overtime." - House of Sparky

August 3, 2014 - kicker Zane Gonzalez
"He finished his freshman season 25 of 30 with a season-long of 44 yards. The 25 made field goals tied UCLA's Kai Forbath season mark for a freshman. Gonzalez's 138 points broke a school scoring record that had been in place 63 years. The only concern was Gonzalez's spring. He wasn't himself, missing kicks he usually makes. 'Things started off slow, and I thought it got in my head a little bit; I started losing my confidence,' Gonzalez said. 'As the spring went on, I got a little better and started getting back in the swing of things. It took awhile, but I felt toward the end of the spring I did a lot better'." - AZ Central

May 7, 2014 - punter Matt Haack
"This season, it appears that the coaches are going to give Haack a legitimate shot at establishing himself as the full-time punter.  So far, in spring ball, he looked comfortable, consistent and proficient. Haack is a left-footed punter.  Coach Graham likes the idea that the ball spins differently than when a right-footed punter strikes the ball.  It is, in fact, a little different and might cause problems for a return man." - Devils in Detail

April 9, 2014 - specialists update
"As Matt Haack settles into his punting role, Alex Garoutte is regaining his strength as the Sun Devils' kickoff specialist. As coach Todd Graham notes, Garoutte excelled in this spot last season, until he had to step in and man the punter duties as well. At Tuesday's practice, Garoutte boomed the football with excellent hang time on his kicks, and that allowed the coaching staff to work with the coverage unit on finding ways to pin returners deep. 'When Alex (Garoutte) is not punting and he can focus on kickoffs, early in the year last year he was kicking them all out of the end zone, you know four out of five out of the end zone,'" Graham said.... The Sun Devils have a lot riding on successful snaps, and Graham is pleased with the competition he's seen at long snapper. Graham praised Donnie Shields for the competition he's developed with Easton Wahlstrom, but based on some of their reps from Tuesday's practice, both players need to work on the speed with which they get the ball back to the punter." - House of Sparky

April 5, 2014 - spring scrimmage
"After a shaky start, sophomore Zane Gonzalez looked better Saturday, hitting 7 of 10 field goals. Still, the 2013 All-Pac-12 selection missed from 35, 46 and 51 yards. 'Can't do that,'' Graham said. 'Doesn't matter if you were the best field-goal kicker in the country last year. It matters what you do this year'." - AZ Central

March 25, 2014 - punter Matt Haack improving
"Head coach Todd Graham brought in Keith Patterson last month to not only be ASU's defensive coordinator, but to oversee the defensive special teams. In his short time here, Patterson has already made a big impression on punter Matt Haack with a renewed focus on fundamentals, something Patterson can teach from experience. 'Coach Patterson taught himself how to punt in college,' Haack said. 'He knows exactly what he’s talking about. Every snap we get, every punt we take, he critiques us. There is a lot more emphasis on it this year seeing as that last year was a struggle. They are helping a bunch.' That instruction includes refining Haack's technique to be quicker and more fundamentally sound. 'It’s been getting the technique down and being more consistent,' Haack said. 'I’m trying to keep my leg swing straighter, as I have a tendency to swing it over to the right. I'm keeping my steps shorter and be a straight two-step punter.' As a left-footed punter, Haack can present a unique set of challenges for an opposing punt returner, and his early work this spring has been noticeably impressive. After a year in the team's strength program, Haack has been consistently blasting kicks deeper during the opening series of spring practices. Along with the improved technique, he's also shown a consistent spiral on most of his kicks. 'I feel a lot more comfortable and more confident than I was last year,' said Haack. 'It feels a lot better, and everything is coming along great'.” - AZ Family

March 22, 2014 - spring practice
"Matt Haack continues to get most of the reps at first-team punter while Alex Garoutte remains first string on kickoffs." - House of Sparky

March 18, 2014 - spring practice
"Sophomore Matt Haack handled first punting duties. Coach Todd Graham said recently if given the chance to do it over, he would have made Haack ASU's punter in 2013 and left him there. Senior Alex Garoutte punted as well Tuesday, while walk-on Dom Vizzare was not present." - Fox Sports

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