the study of the kicking components within sports

Sunday, September 27, 2015

UMass Minutemen Kicker, Punter & Snapper News


September 26, 2015 - Mike Caggiano takes over as placekicker
"As had been the case all season, it was Blake Lucas who lined up for the University of Massachusetts football team's first point after attempt in Saturday's 62-27 loss at Notre Dame Saturday. But when the extra point try was blocked – the second straight PAT to end in a block dating back to the end-game fiasco against Temple last week – Whipple made his move. He'd seen enough of Lucas as the team's placekicker, pulling the senior in favor of true freshman Mike Caggiano. According to Whipple after the game, the move will stick for now, with Caggiano taking over PAT and field-goal duties while Lucas is relegated to kickoffs only. 'I had to make a decision. I'm not sure the other guy was (longtime NFL kicker) Pete Gogolak, but he did all right. He was 3 for 3,' Whipple said, adding that in a 35-point thumping, a missed extra point was 'the least of our worries.' 'We're just going to have Blake kick off from now on.' The 'other guy' Whipple referred to was, of course, Caggiano. Whipple rarely refers to his kickers by name in public, so the freshman should probably get used to that." - MassLive

August 30, 2015 - kicker Randy Alay commits
"UMass has landed a talented local specialist for their 2016 recruiting class. Kicker Randy Alay from Waltham, MA, announced his commitment on his Twitter page Saturday night. Alay is rated as a 4.5 star kicker and the #96 overall kicking prospect in the 2016 class by Kohl's Kicking.... Alay was also receiving strong interest from Cornell before committing to UMass." - Hustle Belt

April 17, 2015 - Logan Laurent kicks winner in spring game
"Redshirt freshman Logan Laurent split the uprights on a 31-yard field goal as time expired to give Team UMass a 13-10 come-from-behind victory in the Massachusetts football spring game Friday night at McGuirk Alumni Stadium. Most spring games don't lend themselves to drama and suspense but the 2015 UMass edition gave the crowd plenty to cheer about. Team Minutemen (wearing white jerseys) was unable to convert a field goal of its own just 52 second earlier when the snap hit the holder in the head when he was looking back at junior kicker Blake Lucas." - Minutemen

January 25, 2015 - kicker Mike Caggiano commits
"Manalapan senior Mike Caggiano, a two-time, first-team All-Shore selection by Shore Sports Network and the second all-time leading scorer among kickers in state history, announced Sunday that he has committed to the University of Massachusetts. Caggiano took his official visit to UMass this weekend and decided to make the commitment on Sunday. He also had offers from the University of Hawaii and Stony Brook, where he also took official visits.... As a kicker, he booted a 39-yard field goal, kicked 26 touchbacks and went 52-for-55 on extra points as a senior, finishing second all-time in state history in points by a kicker in the process with 237 for his career, including a state-record 195 extra points. Caggiano finished his career with 14 field goals and 75 touchbacks. He also was a weapon as a punter, averaging 35.7 yards per punt, including a 71-yarder, and dropping three inside the opposing 20-yard line." - Shore Sports Network

November 25, 2014 - Blake Lucas to start at kicker in season finale
"It's all come full-circle for the University of Massachusetts kicking game. Tuesday at the end of practice, it was Blake Lucas, not Logan Laurent, taking first-team reps as UMass lined up on special teams to practice field goals. He made all but one, which was tipped at the line and landed well short and off target. Laurent took over for Lucas six weeks into the season, but has struggled in five starts since making his debut against Kent State in October, missing five extra points and two field goals on six attempts. With one game left to play this season against Buffalo, coach Mark Whipple felt it was time to make a change. 'The other guy didn't kick very well and Blake is kicking well,' he said. 'So we'll just go with the next guy and whoever's kicking it best'." - MassLive

October 13, 2014 - kicker/punter Logan Laurent
Having only joined the University of Massachusetts football team's place-kicking fray earlier in the week, back-up punter Logan Laurent delivered a solid performance in the Minutemen's 40-17 win at Kent State Saturday, hitting on two field goals and 4 of 5 PATs. He wasn't tested – his two field-goal makes came from 31 and 22 yards – and he wasn't perfect – his last extra point sailed wide – but Laurent provided an accountable presence on special teams.... Though he's served as the Minutemen's back-up punter for two seasons, Laurent said in high school, his primary role was that of kicker.... But by the time Laurent became a senior and had started receiving college scholarship offers – which he turned down to walk on at UMass – he had decided to give punting a try, too. It stuck when he got to Amherst. 'I came here and only having Colter Johnson as a senior (in 2013) and only having Brian McDonald, who are both old in the football pool for college, they told me to focus on punting,' he said. 'If they ever had a problem with kicking, I told them I was ready to start going'." - MassLive

September 17, 2014 - kicking game-time decision
"On Monday, University of Massachusetts football coach Mark Whipple told reporters that, while walk-on freshman kicker Matthew Wylie had come on strong in recent practices, struggling starter Blake Lucas was still the best kicker on the team. At face value, that may not sound like an open kicking competition. But before practice Wednesday, Whipple said the decision on who starts Saturday at Penn State will likely come right down to game time. 'Unless somebody stinks it up or does well,' he said. 'Yesterday, they both kicked the ball well. So we'll just go day-to-day'. Lucas' ongoing struggles – seemingly more mental than physical at this point – have been well documented. His 22-yard miss at the end of regulation against Vanderbilt last week once more brought scrutiny on the junior kicker while simultaneously opening the door for Wylie to stake his claim for the job." - MassLive

August 20, 2014 - new holder
"As the backup quarterback at Marshall for the past two seasons, one of Blake Frohnapfel's many duties was to crouch down on one knee every so often to hold on PAT and field goal attempts. It's not an uncommon practice, as many teams have their second-string signal caller or punter place balls down on the turf for the kicker. Less common, however, is having the first-string quarterback take care holding duties. But with last year's holder Jeff Strait graduated, the University of Massachusetts football team looks ready to do just that, as Frohnapfel has handled the position for kicker Blake Lucas throughout training camp. 'They said they needed someone to hold and I was like, 'Well, I held, I can help out there,'" Frohnapfel said at Gillette Stadium Wednesday." It doesn't bother me one bit.' Added coach Mark Whipple after practice Tuesday: 'He did it at Marshall for two years. He's good and the kickers like him'."- MassLive

July 29, 2014 - kicker Blake Lucas
"New coach Mark Whipple doesn't seem the kind of decision maker who would wait on Lucas – or anyone else – to shake things out before making a move. If Lucas wants to win and keep his job all season, he'll have to impress day in and day out. So far, Lucas is off to a good start. He kicked well during spring practice, making all five of his attempts – including 45- and 50-yarders – during the intrasquad scrimmage I observed in early April. Special teams coordinator Ted Daisher later said he liked the improvement he'd seen from the beleaguered kicker. 'Blake seems to have ironed out a couple little mechanical things that he was doing,' he said. 'He seems more confident and is kicking off better. There's a lot of positive things.' Lucas has competition for kicking duties again in 2014, but barring another implosion, he should win the job over freshmen Markus Colin and Matthew Wylie (a walk-on)." - MassLive

July 2, 2014 - punters Logan Laurent & Brian McDonald
"Laurent, a native of Exeter, New Hampshire, redshirted last season behind Colter Johnson and back-up Jeff Strait. As the only punter on the roster for spring practices, he took every rep. McDonald, a local product from Westwood, Massachusetts, comes over from the University of Minnesota-Morris, a Division III program. He also spent time at Fitchburg State after graduating from Hebron Academy. He finished second in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference in 2013 with a 37.9 yards per punt average on 45 attempts (about half a yard or so better than Johnson last year). His season long was 60 yards and he pinned eight punts down inside the 20-yard line.... With McDonald on board, punter, it seems, will be an interesting training camp battle to keep an eye on. Both are big-bodied kickers, though McDonald is probably a little more developed physically at this stage of his career. An FBS-calliber weight lifting program should only help him more. As a redshirt freshman, Laurent is something of a mystery. He showed some leg strength in spring camp, but during the scrimmage that I really got a close view of him, he was off the top of his game." - MassLive

June 5, 2014 - kicker Matthew Wylie walks on
"Dripping Springs, Texas, Dripping Springs HS, Wylie earned all-district first team honors as a senior with three made field goals and a perfect 32-of-32 on extra points. Never had a field goal or PAT attempt blocked during his prep career. Also named to High School Football Elite Team for Region IV. Has range inside 55 yards with five career kicks of 40-or-more yards in games. Also handled kick-off duties. Was the USTA Kicking Camp Champion in 2013. Coached by current Oakland Raiders and former Dallas Cowboys kicking coach Chris Boniol." - MassLive

April 14, 2014 - kicker Blake Lucas
"For Lucas, the road to resurrecting his sputtering career begins with an important first step – impressing new coach Mark Whipple in spring practice. So far, so good for Lucas, who's handled first team kicking duties ahead of freshman Markus Colin during the month-long sessions. 'It's nice to get back out here, start doing things like I know I can do,' he said. Special teams coordinator Ted Daisher, a holdover from last year's staff who brings an intimate knowledge of Lucas' struggles, has liked what he's seen out of his most-veteran kicking specialist thus far in spring camp. 'Blake seems to have ironed out a couple little mechanical things that he was doing,' he said. 'He seems more confident and is kicking off better. There's a lot of positive things'.... Still, spring confidence doesn't necessary equate to an assured job come the fall. With Colin battling to earn more reps and preferred walk-on freshman Matthew Wylie arriving over the summer, Lucas will be hard-pressed to hold off his competition. 'I definitely learned from (last year's experience),' he said. 'I've just got to work harder and see where the season takes me'." - MassLive

April 5, 2014 - spring scrimmage
"Saturday, it was Blake Lucas' turn to be perfect, as the (apparent) starter made all five of field-goal attempts from 25, 25, 30, 45 and 50 yards. He also made 6 of 6 PATs. It was an impressive display of accuracy (makes from both hashes) and power (the 50-harder had room to spare), and under slightly-less-than-ideal kicking conditions, to boot. The pressure will be on Lucas to hold onto the job, but Saturday's effort was a very strong showing for the embattled sophomore.... Logan Laurent appears to have a strong leg, but he wasn't at his best Saturday. After one particularly bad shank off the right side of his foot, he came over to the sideline shaking his head saying that "this is the worst day I've had yet." He did get off a couple boomers, but wasn't able to pin anything down near the goal line without the ball bouncing into the end zone. All of Nick Berus' snaps were fine and easily handled by Laurent, both on PAT/FG and punts." - MassLive

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