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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Cal Poly Mustangs Kicker, Punter & Snapper News

September 7, 2015 - kicker Alex Vega named Big Sky Special Teams Player of the Week
"redshirt freshman placekicker Alex Vega has been selected as the ROOT Sports Big Sky Conference Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance in the Mustangs' 20-19 victory at Montana on Saturday night. In his first game as a Mustang, Vega calmly walked onto the field with nine seconds remaining and, five seconds later, kicked a 49-yard field goal to erase a 19-17 Montana lead. Teammate Stephen Pyle kicked a 48-yarder earlier in the game, but Mustang head coach Tim Walsh elected to go with the redshirt freshman, attempting his first collegiate field goal, instead of the senior. '"If it was inside of 40, I probably would have let Pyle kick it,' Walsh said at the postgame press conference. 'But Alex has proven to have the stronger leg and I thought he'd have the best opportunity to make it. I was concerned that it was going to be his first college field goal, but what a first college field goal. Congratulations to him'." - Mustangs

September 5, 2015 - Alex Vega kicks game winner over Montana
"Alex Vega’s first college field goal attempt will be a tough act to follow. Cal Poly’s freshman kicker nailed a 49-yard field goal with four seconds left in the game to give the Mustangs a season-opening 20-19 victory over Montana on Saturday night. 'The g-rated version was just don’t screw this up,' Vega said after the game when asked what was going through his mind as he trotted onto the field. 'I was confident I could make the kick and I’m glad coach gave me an opportunity.' Montana (1-1) had taken a 19-17 lead with 3:43 to play on a safety when Cal Poly’s Chris Brown was called for intentional grounding in the end zone as he was being sacked by Derek Crittenden. But after the Grizzlies turned the ball over on downs at the Cal Poly 32 with 1:17 left in the game, Brown moved the Mustangs to the Montana 32-yard line and Vega got his first college opportunity." - Washington Times

May 2, 2015 - spring game
"The kicking game appears to be taking shape, although Walsh said he is a few days away from making an official decision on which three of the six hopefuls will make it to fall camp. Freshman walk-on Alex Vega earned praise from the coach for the second time this spring after making a 46-yard field goal attempt with plenty of room to spare and sending his lone punt 46 yards. Zach Schottenfeld missed from 31 yards out and hit an upback to lose yards on a punt, but Walsh said he and fellow returning kicker Stephen Pyle, who made a 24-yard field goal but also fumbled a punt snap, have been consistent throughout the 15 practices." - The Tribune

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April 22, 2015 - spring specialists
"After a hip flexor injury to kicker/punter Stephen Pyle early last season left the Mustangs to rely on slotbacks Elias Stokes and Chris Nicholls to handle kicking duties in a loss at South Dakota State, Cal Poly has six kickers participating in spring practices. Pyle is back and healthy, and joining him are Zach Schottenfeld, Alex Vega, James Foug, Ean Hendrickson and Nick Blount. Walsh said Vega “is showing an extremely strong leg,” while Schottenfeld is “probably playing the most consistently right now.” Walsh said only two or three kickers will make it to fall camp, and situational kicking in the spring game could go a long way toward deciding who stays." - The Tribune
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September 26, 2014 - kicker Zach Schottenfeld
"Schottenfeld didn’t show up in San Luis Obispo until training camp was almost over. The transfer kicker from Utah stepped onto the Cal Poly football practice field, and just a couple days later, he was kicking in the preseason intrasquad scrimmage. After visiting sister and Cal Poly student Kiley back in May, Schottenfeld made contact with the Mustangs and expressed his interest in leaving the Utes. The process, from getting his release, finishing up some summer school and getting accepted at Cal Poly, contributed to his late arrival, but the Mustangs are certainly glad he made it. The redshirt freshman has assumed the role of placekicker after the hip injury junior Stephen Pyle suffered three weeks ago at South Dakota State proved more serious than originally thought. Cal Poly head coach Tim Walsh said Pyle is not being counted on to return this season, which has created a ripple effect across most special teams units. Pyle was handling kickoffs, field goals, punts and PATs before the injury. Now, senior slotback Chris Nicholls is punting, redshirt freshman James Foug is kicking off and Schottenfeld is responsible for putting points on the board. Schottenfeld has yet to attempt a field goal, but he said he is comfortable kicking from 40 yards with his range extending to 45. He did make all six of his PATs in last week’s 42-14 victory over Portland State." - The Tribune

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September 9, 2014 - kicker Stephen Pyle injury update
"Now, during a bye week for the Mustangs (0-2), Stephen Pyle is resting his kicking leg and awaiting further evaluation of his right hip joint. The first-year starter and former Cal Poly men’s soccer player is hoping to return to the lineup for the Mustangs’ home opener against Portland State (1-1) on Sept. 20.... Pyle won’t know for sure the severity of the damage until visiting a specialist later this week to help pinpoint the exact injury, be it a hip flexor or adductor injury. After Tuesday’s practice, Mustangs head coach Tim Walsh said he is planning to rest Pyle this week and see how the kicker feels by Tuesday or Wednesday next week before making an official decision. 'Optimistically, I should be back,' Pyle said. 'I moved from the bicycle to the elliptical machine. Trainers are thinking I should be back for Portland State, but come next week’s time and I’m not ready, I’m not going to push it.' If Pyle is unable to play, redshirt freshman Zach Schottenfeld, a recent transfer from Utah, and Ben Adam, a walk-on freshman from St. Joseph High, will compete for placekicking duties, and redshirt freshman James Foug would handle kickoffs, coach Walsh said." - The Tribune
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September 6, 2014 - only available kicker gets hurt
"For the first time in his 23-year history as a head coach, Walsh said, he decided to bring just one kicker to Saturday’s 44-18 road loss to No. 12 South Dakota State. That kicker, junior Stephen Pyle, was charged with all kicking and punting duties. On a first-quarter PAT, Pyle’s kick bounced off the left upright, no good, but that wasn’t the worst of it. Walsh said Pyle felt something in his hip flexor. Pyle made one more kickoff, and that was the end of his night. Kicking teams were in scramble mode the rest of the game. The Mustangs went for two-point conversions following the rest of their touchdowns, failing twice. Senior slotback Chris Nicholls punted four times, averaging 36.5 yards with a long of 42 and showing some impressive hangtime for a player who doesn’t practice kicking all that much. Sophomore slotback Elias Stokes handled the remaining two kickoffs, squibbing the ball and giving South Dakota State drives that started at the 36- and 28-yard lines. As for field goals, Cal Poly did turn the ball over on downs to end an early fourth-quarter drive at the Jackrabbits’ 18-yard-line, but by that point, the Mustangs were too desperate to settle for three points at a time. In the end, Pyle’s injury might not have made a big difference, and with a week off to heal before the next game, he could be right back in the lineup for the Sept. 20 home opener against Portland State." - The Tribune
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May 3, 2014 - spring game
"The four kickers attempting to replace dependable two-year starter Bobby Zalud had trouble connecting. Junior kicker Stephen Pyle capped the opening drive with a miss from 24 yards. Redshirt freshman walk-on Samuel Boyden missed two from 50-plus yards. St. Joseph product Ben Adam, another redshirt freshman walk-on, missed from 32. Redshirt freshman walk-on James Foug made the lone connection on a 24-yard field goal. Only two of the kickers will be invited to fall camp. Coach Tim Walsh has yet to make a decision. There’s one criterion. The most consistent kicker wins the job, and Pyle has the biggest body of work to draw from. 'It doesn’t help his cause when he missed a 24-yard field goal,' Walsh said, 'because if he’s going to be it, he has to be that guy'."- The Tribune

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