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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Southern Illinois Salukis Kicker, Punter & Snapper News

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April 8, 2015 - kicker competition
"Southern Illinois University's two spring ball kickers hadn't missed all day, and coach Dale Lennon wanted to put the pressure on for the last attempt of Saturday's first scrimmage. Lennon asked the team to form a tunnel around Austin Johnson as he lined up at the 37-yard line toward the south end zone. Johnson, a third-year sophomore who hasn't made a field goal since 2012, hit it straight and true for what would have been a career-long. Instead, Johnson had to settle for a slight leg up in a cloudy kicker battle that will continue into fall camp. 'Austin Johnson is our No. 1 kicker,' Lennon said after the scrimmage. 'I think he's kicking the ball very well. His leg's gotten stronger. He was our starting kicker two years ago before Thomas Kinney, so, I'm happy with Austin.' Johnson made his only extra-point attempt and all three of his field goal attempts during the scrimmage. Chris Adams, a fifth-year senior this fall after redshirting in 2014, made two 35-yard attempts in his only action of the scrimmage.... Johnson and Adams, a kickoff artist in his first three seasons, both got to redshirt in 2014 because Kinney also kicked off. Now, with Kinney out, the two are trying to reclaim their previous roles this spring with an eye to the fall. Josh Haynes, a recruited, scholarship kicker from Herrin, signed with SIU in February and could battle for the starting spot in the fall." - The Southern

February 4, 2015 - kicker Josh Haynes signs
"Herrin, Ill. / Herrin HS - Two-time honorable mention All-State honoree (2013, 2014)...Four-time Academic All-State selection...Four-time All-Conference kicker by the Southern Illinoisan...2014 unanimous All-Conference (SICA) honoree at kicker, punter and wide receiver by the Southern Illinoisan...Had 46 touchbacks on 85 kickoffs in 2014...Punted 11 times for a 42.6 yard average in 2014...Also caught 16 passes for 538 yards and four touchdowns in 2014...Hit a pair of 47-yard field goals as a junior in 2013...Holds school records for longest field goal, most field goals in a career, most PATs in a season and most PATs in a career." - Salukis

November 5, 2014 - punter Nick Neidig
"Neidig has the No. 6 average punt length in the MVC this season. He averages 40 yards on every punt, which is not much less than the Misssouri Valley Conference leader, junior Ben LeCompte of North Dakota State, who averages 43.1 yards. He has also landed 11 punts inside the 20-yard line and has five punts of more than 50 yards. Although Neidig has been impressive this season, there is still room to grow. He said he has not reached his potential, but it will come with experience. Special teams coach Keith Murphy said Neidig is very impressive for a freshman and his work ethic is allows him to improve. 'I need to learn to stay in a flow,' he said. 'I’ve had some good games this year, but I need to learn to be more consistent.' Neidig’s best game of the year came Sep. 27 in a 34-17 victory against Western Illinois. Junior Derek Matthewson took the first punt of the game, his only punt of the year. 'Nick was being a little too methodical, and Derek had earned his shot,' Murphy said. “We wanted to see if Nick would respond, and he did.' Neidig came into the game and with his next punt he recorded a season-high 75-yard punt. He took three more punts in the game for 37, 43 and 52 yards. The 75-yard punt is the fifth-longest punt in the country this season." - Daily Egyptian

June 20, 2014 - kicker Thomas Kinney goals
“I want to challenge myself and push myself,' said Kinney, a Johnsburg graduate who is a fifth-year senior for Southern Illinois’ football team. 'I’m working on accuracy and consistency.' To become even more accurate, Kinney isn’t just focused on the goal posts at Carbondale’s Saluki Stadium. Sometimes, he prefers one post. 'We’ll work with smaller goal posts and even the light post,' Kinney said of his targets both in the stadium and on the practice field. 'I’ll get a snap and a hold and see how many times I can hit [the light post] in one session'.... While spending his summer in Carbondale, Kinney said the experience of a year under his belt in FCS and his comfort with the coaching staff have helped him feel even more at home with the Salukis, who are ranked No. 20 in Athlon’s preseason Top 25 poll. 'I have more faith and more confidence,' Kinney said. 'I want to make this season a good one'” - Northwest Herald

April 15, 2014 - kicker Thomas Kinney
"Kinney missed only six field goal attempts on 24 tries last season, but, in accordance with spring football, his job was on the line as much as anyone's after the Salukis missed the playoffs for the fourth straight season in 2013. But after sinking two field goals inside 50 yards in Saturday's second spring scrimmage, Kinney firmly kept himself in the lead to repeat as SIU's starting kicker. Kinney made a 34-yard field goal, a 44-yard attempt and all three of his point-after touchdowns (PATs). His only miss came from 58 yards when it went wide right at Saluki Stadium. 'Thomas Kinney has always been in the lead. Now I gotta see the consistency from him,' SIU coach Dale Lennon said. 'Just making the PATs is important, that's why we do those after every game. Thomas should be our No. 1 kicker, but he's gonna be challenged.' Austin Johnson, the backup for all of last season, made 1-of-3 field goals, missing from 34 and 50 yards away. Johnson drilled a 35-yard attempt and made both of his PATs. Chris Adams, the other kicker in spring ball, also made 1-of-3, converting from 40 yards but missing from 34 and 54 yards. Adams also made both of his PATs." - The Southern

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