the study of the kicking components within sports

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Kicks

While Thanksgiving may have a more extensive football history, Christmas Day has also seen a few big kicks over the years:

2010 - Arizona Cardinals 27, Dallas Cowboys 26
After an illegal formation penalty, Jay Feely hit a 48 yard field goal with five seconds remaining to lift the Cardinals to the win.
"When I missed the first one [a 49-yarder], I kind of hit it too well. So I made a decision that as long as I was inside 55 I was going to stay at 80 percent and just groove them. I knew when it started down the middle, I knew it was going to be good."
2006 – New York Jets 13, Miami Dolphins 10
With 10 seconds remaining in a very wet game, Mike Nugent hit a 30 yard FG to win the game.

2004 – Kansas City Chiefs 31, Oakland Raiders 30
Although he had missed two field goal attempts earlier in the game, Lawrence Tynes was good on a 38 yarder with 22 seconds remaining to win the game.
“I got a great snap and great hold. When I kicked that ball, I was very confident because I had hit the other two good, and one got blocked and the other hit the crossbar. I wasn’t down in the dumps at all. I was real positive when I went out there and I knew I was going to make it.”
1989 – Minnesota Vikings 29, Cincinnati Bengals 21
Barefoot kicker Rich Karlis made five field goals (31, 37, 22, 42 and 24 yards) in the first half of the final regular season game of the '89 season, in which the playoff hopes of four teams hung in the balance.

1971 – Miami Dolphins 27, Kansas City Chiefs, 24 (second OT)
The longest game in NFL history. The Dolphins finally won it in the second overtime with a 37 yard field goal by Garo Yepremian.
"Somehow it would—must, surely, on Christmas Day—come to this. That the longest game in the history of American professional football would be decided by the smallest player on the field. That he would not be American-born at all, but a Cypriot, with an accent. That he would be a painter of neckties for profit, and uninhibited in his high good humor. A teller of outrageous jokes on himself, agreeable and gregarious. And cuddly. The people of Kansas City would see him there in the shadow of his Miami teammates and wonder, what is a Garo Yepremian? Did the Dolphins get him for Christmas? And the answer would be that the Dolphins got him two years ago from Detroit, where he was hiding out in his basement painting ties, ashamed to show his balding head after being cut by the Lions. The Lions considered him a clown. And at 6:24 p.m. CST on Christmas Day the Dolphins gave him to the Kansas City Chiefs. Right between the uprights." - John Underwood, SI

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

FCS Conditioner for Kickers & Punters, 2014 part 3

Our annual Q&A series with college specialists continues with kickers and punters. We asked seniors in the FCS (Football Championship Subdivision) the following question:
"What's the most important thing you've learned during your college career regarding training & conditioning for specialists?"
Following is the final third of the responses.

Ben Campbell, Austin Peay Sate
"Don't overdo it during practice. I've had practices where I will be punting and none of them will be very good and I will keep punting until I end on a good one. This is not a good way to train and it could come from not being focused or being fatigued, but it produces bad mechanics and may lower your confidence level. Everyone has those days and when you face them I've learned to take a break and regain confidence in myself before moving on to the next drill. Confidence is a very powerful tool to all specialists."

Kyle Pignatiello, Dayton
"We were not really trained to better ourselves within the kicking/punting motion. We were often using the same workout as some of the others on the team. The workout was planned to make you bigger and more powerful which is beneficial to a point when kicking. There was much missing such as flexibility training and more abdominal training. These could have been used better to the strength and conditioning of the kickers and punters."

Tyler Strickland, Arkansas-Pine Bluff
"During my college career the most important thing I learned about training and conditioning was the importance it had with injury prevention. With a lot of kickers and punters wanting to make the next level it's important that you market yourself as being a better kicker and athlete than your competition. Although kickers are often exempt from contact, having the extra size and strength helps when you are the last line of defense to prevent a touchdown. Don't make the mistake of avoiding the weight room because you are a kicker, it will only help improve your chances in making the next level."
Ethan Sawyer, South Dakota State
"During the offseason, I found that the explosive lifts, power cleans, hang cleans etc. were extremely beneficial for my development as a punter. Because punting and kicking involve such violent movements, any exercise that will increase your overall explosiveness will increase your potential to get more power behind your kicks. Obviously squatting can help develop leg strength which is also important, but it's essential to find a balance between strength and flexibility. I thought it was helpful to throw in either a yoga session or just an extended stretch workout once or twice a week in addition to my regular stretching in order to stay flexible while trying to build muscle. As far as kicking goes, I always tried to get a lot of kicking in during the summer and started to taper off the amount that I kicked during fall camp and during the season. That way I was able to work out any of the technique issues I wanted to correct during the summer so that when fall camp came around I was ready to punt well, so I wouldn't have to hit many balls, and could save my legs for Saturdays. Lastly, you can never practice your drop enough."

Andrew Flesher, Harvard
"For weight lifting and training that takes place outside the context of the actual kicking, I think it is important to understand that power in kicking comes from an ability to store force in the plant leg and explode through the ball with a powerful swing. With this understanding in mind, training becomes a little simpler to organize. In order to train the ability to store force, I believe the emphasis should be on depth jumps and depth jumps to box jumps. In order to increase lower body power, I think kickers need to focus on reactive powerlifts and Olympic lifts performed at high percentages of their 1 rep maxes. Unless there are specific means applied through eccentric or isometric emphases—squats, cleans, etc. need to be performed at high percentages with a focus on quality reps. There is a lot of literature out there on effective training methods for power output, and kickers need to realize that the training methods for skill players (wr’s, rb’s etc) are extremely beneficial to kickers as well.

As for actual kicking training, I’ve found that I have needed to be seasonal with my approach. After the season I usually don’t kick for a few weeks and let my body’s ailments (hips, Achilles tendons, flexibility imbalances) heal. Within our team’s offseason training program, I try to kick 3x a week after the workouts. During an ideal summer, I would preferably kick 4x a week, and make sure I am not over-kicking. Of course my kicking capacity is different at different times of the year, but somewhere in the range of 20 kicks in a single session has always been where my quality begins to fall off. During the season, I take monitoring the number of kicks even more seriously. Given that I had a torn labrum last season I naturally had to take a few days off from practice here and there, but overall I try to focus keeping as fresh as possible while still maintaining my form. This is something that varies from person to person, but I have noticed that the first few seasons where I did not monitor my number of kicks effectively that my strength fell off during the tail end of the season. This year, even with the torn hip labrum and a quad strain, my field goal range during our last game (~36 degrees) was comparable to the beginning of the season (~80 degrees), and that’s something that I think is very important towards developing a consistency that coaches like."

Monday, December 22, 2014

Malaysia Men's National Soccer Team News

December 22, 2014 - Shukor Adan retires
"Despite narrowly missing out on the glory of lifting the AFF Suzuki Cup, Malaysia captain Shukor Adan has insisted that he will not be returning to international duty following the conclusion of the tournament.... Shukor received a surprise international recall in September at the age of 35 from coach Dollah Salleh but he insisted that he would not be making any more comebacks for Harimau Malaya. 'I have to retire,' said the Felda United player. 'I decided that this would be my last tournament and I am not changing my mind now. I came back out of my respect for Dollah Salleh and to serve Malaysia and I am proud to see that the Malaysia fans have been behind us all the way.' According to Shukor, who began the tournament in central midfield before moving to the centre of defence, Malaysia’s near-miss was a vindication of Dollah’s decision to recall veterans like himself for the tournament." - AFF Suzuki Cup 

December 11, 2014 - Rahim, Talaha & Adnan score in win over Vietnam
"Malaysia stormed into the finals of the AFF Suzuki Cup on Thursday, triumphing 4-2 against Vietnam at the My Dinh Stadium to win the contest 5-4 on aggregate. The Harimau Malaya overturned a first leg deficit, where they lost 2-1 at home to a vibrant Vietnamese side on Sunday. However, the Vietnamese could not build on that success and were trailing the return leg 2-0 to Malaysia after just 16 minutes, thanks to goals from Safiq Rahim and under-fire striker Norshahrul Idlan Talaha. Safiq scored a fifth minute penalty before Norshahrul doubled the lead in the 16th minute. Malaysia then conceded a penalty which was tucked away by Lee Chong Vinh, before a Vietnamese own-goal made the score 3-1 by the 30-minute mark. Shukor Adnan then headed in off a corner to make it 4-1, leaving the Vietnamese with a mountain to climb as they would have needed to score three goals to even the tie. However, Lee managed to pull another goal back for the determined Vietnamese in the 79th minute, and the Harimau Malaya were forced to endure a nervous last 10 minutes." - The Straits Times

November 29, 2014 - Sali, Rahim & Mahayuddin score in win over Singapore
"A stoppage-time penalty by Safiq Rahim and a shot by Indra Putra Mahayuddin into an unguarded net gave Malaysia a 3-1 win over Singapore today as the defending champions were eliminated from the AFF Suzuki Cup. Khairul Amri's late equaliser had appeared to rescue a draw for the Lions but 2010 winners Malaysia were awarded a spot kick as the game entered added time for a foul on Amri Yahyah. Safiq kept his head to convert and with Singapore goalkeeper Hassan Sunny going up for a late corner, the Tigers broke clear and Indra Putra rolled the ball in from 30 metres to seal the victory and send four-time winners Singapore crashing out of the tournament. Safee Sali had fired Malaysia into a 61st lead with an unstoppable effort from the edge of the Singapore box but Amri levelled in the 83rd minute when he bundled the ball into the net after Malaysia goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat had spilled a Safuwan Baharuddin free-kick." - Malaysian Insider

September 20, 2014 - Joseph Kallang Tie scores brace in win over Cambodia
"Following defeats to Kyrgyzstan and Indonesia in his first two friendlies, the former international led world No. 154 Malaysia to a 4-1 victory over 199th-ranked Cambodia in a friendly at the Shah Alam Stadium on Saturday. A brace from Joseph Kallang Tie, a Moul Daravorn own goal and a strike by substitute Baddrol Bakhtiar gave the hosts a comfortable win.... And they did not have to wait long to open the scoring, courtesy of midfielder Joseph in the eighth minute. The Sarawak skipper dispossessed Cambodian defender Sok Sovan on the edge of the box and slotted home past the outrushing Sou Yaty.... it was Malaysia who got their third goal in the 65th minute, with Joseph latching onto a through ball from Bobby Gonzales before applying a cool finish.... Substitute Baddrol restored Malaysia’s three-goal advantage with a powerful strike from outside the box two minutes later." - The Star

Friday, December 19, 2014

FCS Conditioner for Kickers & Punters, 2014 part 2

Our annual Q&A series with college specialists continues with kickers and punters. We asked seniors in the FCS (Football Championship Subdivision) the following question:
"What's the most important thing you've learned during your college career regarding training & conditioning for specialists?"
Following is the second third of the responses.

CJ Laros, Illinois State
"You can't slack on any type of training. Once you take a short cut or not feel like you want to do one or two things on your program, you'll start to find yourself falling behind. Especially playing at this level, you need to be able to keep up with the speed of the game and with the competition. And when it comes to conditioning, that is one of the major factors in playing throughout the season and staying healthy."

Chase Varnadore, Florida A&M
"It is a must need in order to be a top tier kicker. A kicker can not compete with the best without having strong and quick legs. Also I've learned that squats, box jumps, hip training, quick twitch exercises, and stretching are vital when dealing with training. A kicker can't just do on the field training. They have to get in the weight room and push themselves in order to get a stronger and quicker leg. For conditioning I would say running stadiums, hills, and short sprints."

Ryan Mohr, Monmouth
"Do not over kick. This past season I decided to limit my kicks on a daily basis from the start of training camp in hopes that my leg would not get as fatigued over the course of our four month season. I also implored my fellow kickers and punters to do the same and explained my reasoning to them, but as freshman trying to impress the coaches or find their groove they did not always take this advice and their legs wore out by the end of the season. I on the other hand saw great success as my average did not fluctuate much throughout the whole season and I attribute this to not over kicking."

Bryan Maley, Wagner
"Following the teams strength program is great, it's definitely helps aid in my power and explosion, but the most important factor for me was making sure I stretched everyday and keeping up with injury preventive exercises. As a kicker I feel you have to make sure you keep up with your extra exercises to remain healthy throughout the whole season."

CJ Reyes, Idaho State
"You can not take too much time off if you want to become a great specialist and because I have learned that you really teach yourself how to kick because there is an individual style in the way you kick and if you like a certain style you just need to practice and practice. I have been taught by numerous people, and yes it helped, but I used a little part of everything in the way I punt and I am a big believer of using the style and technique you want and just adjusting it to become the best kicker you can!"

Chris Gough, Villanova
"Reject the idea that intense strength training (heavy squatting in particular) during the season can tire your legs out or somehow hinder your performance as a kicker. I wouldn't encourage any sort of heavy lifting on game day or the day before, but I've found that maintaining a relatively heavy workload during the season has given me an advantage late in the season." 

Greg Peranich, Samford
"It's all about preparation and preservation. I've learned that if you don't take care of your body, it will deteriorate as the season moves on. That will lead to inconsistency. The preparation obviously begins in January. To me, it's all about working hard in the weight room and in the conditioning sessions. Also, being smart on the field, i.e. not over-kicking, which is a specialist's greatest downfall."

Luke Allen, Stony Brook
"I had a limited background to kicking & punting, originally from England I only picked it up my junior year of high school, and had no coaching from then until now, only being able to see how other people did it at places like Kohl's Kicking. Although my way into the game is out of the norm, I think training within it is generally the same: you find what works for you, and with repetition and practice, without over doing it, you find your comfort zone and how YOU can hit your best ball. In terms of conditioning, everything we did, weightlifting and conditioning was the same as the rest of the other players and positions on the team. In terms of lifting, I think this helped me and benefited me, because the specialist position is somewhat "frowned upon," I used the weightroom as a place to earn respect from the people around me. it took time, being from a soccer background, I hadn't lifted weights in my life, but gradually as I worked hard, got stronger, I earned respect from coaches, players and others alike, this past spring I was deadlifting more than half of the Offensive Line. In terms of conditioning, I don't think specialists should work on speed drills like the rest of the players do, because we don't condition much in the season, I found this to be strenuous on my muscles, giving me a couple of issues with my hamstrings and hip flexors."

The Big List of 2014 College Kicker & Punter Accolades

It's that time of year once again... lots of awards, lots of lists, and lots of accolades for college athletes. Following are the various conference, regional and national honors. If you know of anything we've missed, please feel free to post a message below!

National Individual Awards
All-Conference Teams
  • see separate post listing all-conference kickers and punters from over 65 different conferences 
FWAA (Football Writers Association of America) All-Americans
  • First team kicker: Brad Craddock, Maryland
  • First team punter: Tom Hackett, Utah
  • Second team kicker: Roberto Aguayo, Florida State
  • Second team punter: Scott Harding, Hawaii
Sporting News All-Americans
  • Kicker: Brad Craddock, Maryland
  • Punter: Tom Hackett, Utah
  • Freshman kicker: Trevor Moore, North Texas
  • Freshman punter: JK Scott, Alabama
AP (Associated Press) FBS All-Americans
  • First team kicker: Roberto Aguayo, Florida State
  • First team punter: Tom Hackett, Utah
  • Second team kicker: Brad Craddock, Maryland
  • Second team punter: JK Scott, Alabama
  • Third team kicker: Josh Lambert, West Virginia
  • Third team punter: Austin Rehkow, Idaho
Sports Illustrated All-Americans
  • First team kicker: Roberto Aguayo, Florida State
  • First team punter: JK Scott, Alabama
  • Second team kicker: Brad Craddock, Maryland
  • Second team punter: Tom Hackett, Utah
Walter Camp Foundation All-Americans
  • First team kicker: Roberto Aguayo, Florida State
  • First team punter: Tom Hackett, Utah
  • Second team kicker: Brad Craddock, Maryland
  • Second team punter: Austin Rehkow, Idaho
  • FCS first team kicker: Michael Schmadeke, Northern Iowa
  • FCS first team punter: Kyle Loomis, Portland State
Lindy's Sports All-Americans
  • First team kicker: Roberto Aguayo, Florida State
  • First team punter: Tom Hackett, Utah
  • Second team kicker: Brad Craddock, Maryland
  • Second team punter: JK Scott, Alabama
  • Third team kicker: Josh Lambert, West Virginia
  • Third team punter: Austin Rehkow, Idaho
AP (Associated Press) FCS All-Americans
  • First team kicker: Michael Schmadeke, Northern Iowa
  • First team punter: Kyle Loomis, Portland State
  • Second team kicker: Justin Syrovatka, South Dakota State
  • Second team punter: Cory Carter, Texas Southern
  • Third team kicker: Adam Keller, North Dakota State
  • Third team punter: Eric Enderson, Delaware
AP (Associated Press) Little All-Americans
  • First team kicker: Anthony Pistelli, Valdosta State
  • First team punter: Patrick Carney, New Mexico Highlands
  • Second team kicker: Andrew Franks, Rensselaer Polytechnic
  • Second team punter: Nate Ray, Wisconsin-Oshkosh
  • Third team kicker: Brent Wahle, Ohio Dominican
  • Third team punter: Matt Kussmann, Illinois Wesleyan
ESPN All-Americans
  • Kicker: Roberto Aguayo, Florida State
  • Punter: JK Scott, Alabama
Athlon Sports All-Americans
  • First team kicker: Roberto Aguayo, Florida State
  • First team punter: Tom Hackett, Utah
  • Second team kicker: Brad Craddock, Maryland
  • Second team punter: JK Scott, Alabama
  • Third team kicker: Andy Phillips, Utah
  • Third team punter: Austin Rehkow, Idaho
  • Fourth team kicker: Josh Lambert, West Virginia
  • Fourth team punter: Peter Mortell, Minnesota
USA Today All-Americans
  • First team kicker: Roberto Aguayo, Florida State
  • First team punter: JK Scott, Alabama
  • Second team kicker: Brad Craddock, Maryland
  • Second team punter: Tom Hackett, Utah
CBS Sports All-Americans
  • First team kicker: Roberto Aguayo, Florida State
  • First team punter: Tom Hackett, Utah
  • Second team kicker: Josh Lambert, West Virginia
  • Second team punter: Austin Rehkow, Idaho
AFCA (American Football Coaches Association) All-Americans
  • FBS kicker: Roberto Aguayo, Florida State
  • FBS punter: Tom Hackett, Utah
  • FCS kicker: Kyle Loomis, Portland State
  • FCS punter: Michael Schmadeke, Northern Iowa
  • D2 kicker: Brent Wahle, Ohio Dominican
  • D2 punter: Tom Obarski, Concordia-St. Paul (Minn)
  • D3 kicker: Andrew Franks, RPI
  • D3 punter: Matt Kussman, Illinois Wesleyan
  • NAIA kicker: Cristian Casillias, MidAmerica Nazarene
  • NAIA punter: David Strickland (Point)
Capital One Academic All-America
  • D1 kicker 1st team: Tyler Tate, Bowling Green
  • D1 punter 1st team: Mike Sadler, Michigan State
  • D1 kicker 2nd team: Corey Acosta, Southern Miss
  • D1 punter 2nd team: Landon Foster, Kentucky
  • D2 kicker 1st team: Tom Obarski, Concordia-St. Paul
  • D2 punter 1st team: Daniel Backx, American International
  • D2 kicker 2nd team: Randy Wentz, Chadron State
  • D2 punter 2nd team: Patrick Carney, New Mexico Highlands
  • D3 kicker 1st team: Edward Ruhnke, Mount Union
  • D3 punter 1st team: Tyler Gerwig, Wooster
  • D3 kicker 2nd team: Alex Hallwachs, Washington (MO)
  • D3 punter 2nd team: Michael Bennett, Widener
  • College Division kicker 1st team: Caleb Keeton, Lindsey Wilson
  • College Division punter 1st team: Brandon Haan, Taylor
NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) All-Americans
  • First team kicker: Ljundrim Kaba, Tyler
  • First team punter: Jacob Sherman, Iowa Central
  • Second team kicker: Edgar Gastelum, Arizona Western
  • Second team punter: Jeb Millender, Itawamba
CFPA (College Football Performance Awards) Players of the Year
  • FBS placekicker:
  • FBS punter: 
  • FBS specialist:
  • FCS placekicker:
  • FCS punter: 
  • FCS elite placekicker:
BSN (Beyond Sports Network) 1st Team All-Americans
  • FCS kicker: Michael Schmadeke, Northern Iowa
  • FCS punter: Kyle Loomis, Portland State
  • D2 kicker: Tom Obarski, Concordia St. Paul
  • D2 punter: Patrick Carney, New Mexico Highlands
  • D3 kicker:
  • D3 punter:
  • NAIA kicker:
  • NAIA punter:
Daktronics All-Americans
  • First team kicker: Tom Obarski, Concordia St. Paul
  • First team punter: Patrick Carney, New Mexico Highlands
  • Second team kicker: Conner Hollabaugh, West Texas A&M
  • Second team punter: Jake Medlock, Valdosta State

Thursday, December 18, 2014

FCS Conditioner for Kickers & Punters, 2014 part 1

Our annual Q&A series with college specialists continues with FCS kickers and punters. We asked seniors in the Football Championship Subdivision the following question:

"What's the most important thing you've learned during your college career regarding training & conditioning for specialists?"
Following is the first third of the responses.

Nick Pollard, Tennessee Chattanooga
"Explosive movements. As a kicker and punter, you don't need to squat hundreds of pounds to be effective. You truly need to work on being explosive in many ways. I would also say that take some time off from kicking and really focus on weightlifting. It really gives you better results if done properly. Also an additional note would be to work on flexibility."

Smith Heath, Sacramento State
"Explosive flexibility. I have learned to increase hip and hamstring flexibility while also increasing power with full flexibility/full range of motion. Also having a strong core is very important along with staying in great running shape. And not jogging, need to be active with quick twitch muscles, in sprinting shape."

Joey Cejudo, Youngstown State
"Quality over quantity. Especially since I did all three this year! Also you must spend time in the weight room! I was big on low weight more reps! Conditioning aspect I focused on keeping my body in shape and legs in shape so it can stay fresh all year. So in the offseason I ran stadium stairs as well as sprints and other plyometrics!"

Thomas Kinney, Southern Illinois
"Deal with the lifts conditioning coaches give you; your body will adapt to it; maintain flexibility & try your best to maintain proper form."

Cherchen Galon, Mississippi Valley State
"Stretch all the time and keep your head down every time you kick."

Chris Barrick, Prairie View A&M
"Flexibility is the most important thing when training. Don't add too much weight until your muscles are flexible enough to handle it. Resistance bands can be more useful than weights to help with flexibility. A long muscle is a strong muscle."

Michael Marando, Fordham
"As a placekicker, the important field goals that I made during the season were actually kicked during the offseason. I did not let a day go by where I wasn't getting better. Despite the fact that some people only view specialists as just a kicker, just a punter or just a snapper, I was able to gain my team's respect through training and conditioning."

Adam Keller, North Dakota State
"Be self motivated. In such a specialized position not many people can tell you how or what it will take for the best results and performance. It is a challenge each and every day to have the right mindset to get better but if you want to be the best you can be you have to do that. Also having the mental toughness to understand that you are only as good as your next kick and to focus on what has allowed me to be successful in the past to effect the way I perform in the future no matter what."

Jamie Ross, Sacred Heart
"Other than the direct delivery from hand to foot, kicking is such a mental thing. If you get one blocked or hit one off the side of your foot you have to come off the field and leave it there. You can't be bringing previous kicks out for the next ones because they will haunt you. I think as far as conditioning for specialists, repetition and giving your legs the proper workouts and recovery is huge. When you're kicking everyday, say in preseason, and you're running and your legs feel like jell-o you need to ice bath and stretch and take the extra time to get your legs back under you. It's a long season and you don't want to peak the first week of the season and progressively get worse from there on out."

Brad Prasky, New Hampshire
"It's important to do exercises specific to kicking when doing your extra lifts, but when lifting with the team you can gain valuable respect from teammates by lifting just as much as them, having the best form, and of course having a great work ethic. Those things will earn the respect and trust of your teammates and coaches because they know you want the same things they want from you. I am in the weight room at least an hour every day doing various things from stretching all the way up to some heavier lifts. That time spent makes me more durable and allows me to be strong late in the season.... Diet is a huge part of progress physically. A lot of carbs and sugars are essential for kickers to not tighten up on sidelines and prevent pulls."

Tom Obarski Wins 2014 Fred Mitchell Award

Concordia University St. Paul senior place-kicker Tom Obarski (Burnsville, MN) is the recipient of the 2014 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 Tom as the second straight Division II kicker to receive the Fred Mitchell Award. With more than 750 place-kickers to choose from, we are extremely proud to recognize Tom among a stellar group of nominees. Tom’s record-setting season and career were terrific and we recognized Tom for his performance each of his four years at Concordia. We are particularly impressed with Tom’s accuracy, consistent success from 40+ yards and his volunteer efforts with young people.” In addition to First Team All-Conference honors, Tom was also Second Team All-Conference as Concordia’s punter, Capital One Academic All-America First Team and an AFCA All-America First Team selection.

“The Fred Mitchell Award is an incredible honor to receive. God has given me a love for the game that is unmatched and has blessed me with the abilities to glorify Him,” said Obarski. “I want to thank my family and friends who have supported me every step of the way and have pushed me to become better. I also want to thank my team at Concordia and the coaching staff for always putting trust in me.”

Obarski is very active in the community. He is a drug education mentor to middle school children, youth teacher at River Valley Church, high school camp volunteer, on-campus ministries and Bible study leader and Feed My Starving Children volunteer. He also served on an overseas mission trip, helped raise more than $6,000 for the tsunami relief fund in Japan and he raised funds for Project Rescue.

“This Award just exemplifies the peak of Tom’s accomplishments,” said Concordia-St. Paul head coach Ryan Williams. “He’s been accomplished kicker and tremendous ambassador of our football program to the campus and community throughout his career. He’ll be greatly missed in our program and always remembered for the greatness he has left behind. I hope that there are more opportunities for him to kick at a higher level. He represents everything that we strive for in our football program.”

The Award’s Selection Committee Chairman, Chris Kearney, said, “There were dozens of terrific candidates for this Award. In fact, 38 place-kickers were nominated by their schools for consideration. We recognized Tom for his record-setting performance in 2014 and throughout his career. We are looking forward to honoring Tom on February 16, 2015 during the National Football Foundation Chicago Metro Chapter Awards Ceremony.”

Monday, December 15, 2014

Georgia Bulldogs Kicker, Punter & Snapper News

December 15, 2014 - kicker Rodrigo Blankenship commits
Blankenship, an All-American kicker from Sprayberry High School, committed to UGA on Monday. Blankenship will join UGA as a preferred walk-on next season, and then be put on scholarship after Marshall Morgan graduates after next season, according to his high school coach. 'Yes, Rodrigo is really excited,' Sprayberry’s Billy Shackelford told the AJC. 'They (UGA) said he was the best kicker they could find anywhere for 2015 and 2016. They don’t have a scholarship for this year’s class, but they will sign him to one that next year.' This season, Blankenship made seven of 10 field goals, including ones from 56 and 51 yards. He averaged 70.5 yards on kickoffs, with 57 of 60 resulting in touchbacks. He also averaged 46 yards per punt." - AJC

October 31, 2014 - kicker Marshall Morgan
"Other than extra points (where he’s 38-for-39 this fall), Morgan — who is one of four captains for today’s game — hasn’t had as many opportunities to score for Georgia, connecting on 8 of 10 field goal chances. But he’s still using his leg to help the team on kickoffs, delivering an unusual number of kicks into the end zone for touchbacks. 'I think he’s outstanding,' said Georgia coach Mark Richt. 'We do love the way he kicks off. He’s very accurate. He’s accurate on the kickoff, but we like the ball placed in a certain spot. We like the ball with a lot of hang time. He’s been very, very consistent doing that, allowing our coverage team to get down there and do a good job on some of the better return people in our league and in the country. That’s one of the biggest keys in kickoff coverage, ball placement and the hang time. He’s done a good job of that'." - Athens Banner-Herald

September 13, 2014 - kicker Marshall Morgan sets record, but then steak ends
"Morgan broke a 30-year-old SEC record when he made his 19th consecutive field goal early in Saturday’s game against South Carolina. By halftime, however, the streak was over. And by the end of the game, Morgan had missed two field-goal attempts in a row. Morgan’s 36-yard field goal midway through the first quarter broke the league record of 18 in a row set by former Tennessee kicker Fuad Reveiz in 1984 and tied by Morgan in Georgia’s Aug. 30 game against Clemson. Morgan added to his new record when he made his 20th consecutive field goal with a 26-yarder in the second quarter of Saturday’s lightning-delayed game. But the streak ended at 20 when, with 2:16 left in the second quarter, he missed a 44-yard attempt, which was wide right. Then, with 4:24 left in the game and South Carolina leading 38-35, Morgan again was wide right on a 28-yard attempt that could have tied the score. Instead, the Gamecocks held on to win." - Atlanta Journal Constitution

August 30, 2014 - kicker Marshall Morgan ties SEC record
"Marshall Morgan made his 18th consecutive field goal yesterday, which tied him with former Tennessee kicker Fuad Reveiz from 1984 (the same year Butler kicked the 60-yarder against Clemson) for the longest streak without a missed field goal.... If Morgan makes his next field goal he will hold the SEC record for most consecutive field goals. Let’s not under-appreciate our kickers Georgia fans. As former greats like Rex Robinson, Kevin Butler, and Billy Bennett have all shown us…kickers win games." - Dawn of the Dawg

August 27, 2014 - both punters may play
"Collin Barber remains a 'little bit ahead recently' of Adam Erickson in the competition at punter, Georgia assistant coach John Lilly said Tuesday night. 'I think they’ll both play, they’ve both played I think the last couple of years,' Lilly said. 'Some of it may be a little bit situational and some of it may be just the hot hand, but it’s a great problem to have.' Erickson could again handle 'pooch punts', Lilly said. Coach Mark Richt sounded pleased for the most part with both Barber and Erickson.... Lilly said junior Nathan Theus is ahead of Trent Frix as the snapper on punts and field goal/extra points." - Dog Bytes Online

August 20, 2014 - punter Collin Barber worked on drop
"Barber, from Cartersville, worked on drills this offseason with his personal kicking coach, Marc Nolan of Roswell, to make sure the ball was where it needed to be on the drop. 'Right over my right foot and nose a little bit down instead of just kind of tossing it up and swinging at it,' Barber said. Barber said he’s taking a 'jab step,' now before he catches the ball to punt it. 'It’s shortening my steps and my get-off time,' Barber said. 'The operation time is a big deal,' coach Mark Richt said. 'The snap to the catch to the kick. There’s a certain time that you’re looking for and if you’re too slow in your operation time, it doesn’t matter how good you block, you’re probably going to be vulnerable to having your punts blocked. I would say Collin and Adam [Erickson] have done a tremendous job of getting their times down to where they’re very quick, almost two step punting instead of three step punting'." - Dog Bytes Online

August 14, 2014 - Collin Barber leads punting competition
"Junior Collin Barber has pulled ahead of walk-on Adam Erickson for the punting job. 'Collin’s the No. 1 guy right now, but they’re still competing in my mind,' coach Mark Richt said. 'They’re both competing for that job.' Erickson, from Clarke Central, overtook Barber for the job towards the end of last season. Richt indicated that Erickson is likely to remain the pooch punter on kicks pinning opponents inside the 10.... 'Both of them have punted well,' Richt said of the punting competition. 'When Collin hits his best ball, we’re talking 45 to 50 yards with some 5.0 hang times. He can really boom it. Erickson when he hits his best best ball, he’s more like a 45-yarder, 40 to 45 with 4.5 hang time. Those hang times as they correlate to the yardage that their kicking them is good. We can cover those kicks'." - Dog Bytes Online

August 7, 2014 - kicker Marshall Morgan
"After making 17 consecutive field goals to close last season, Marshall needs to make the first two this year to surpass the 18 straight made by Tennessee's Fuad Reveiz in 1984.... The 6-foot-3, 200-pound junior from Fort Lauderdale admitted that he hasn't changed a thing when it comes to field goals. He still enjoys exchanging ideas with other kickers, which can't be avoided at Mark Richt camps when the likes of Rex Robinson, Kevin Butler and Billy Bennett are also in attendance. Morgan said the operation with snapper Nathan Theus and holder Adam Erickson is working better than ever through seven preseason practices, and he believes he will be much more of a driving force on kickoffs. Georgia's average of 60.1 yards per kickoff last season ranked 13th in the SEC, with its net coverage of 38.8 yards ranking 13th as well. Morgan had just 17 touchbacks in 72 kicks. 'I've widened out my steps on kickoffs, so I'm driving the ball a lot further and out of the end zone more,' Morgan said. 'The way I'm hitting it now, I feel like I can make a big difference and take some weight off the kickoff team's back by not having them run down the field and get banged up. Hopefully I can give them some relief to where they don't have to make a tackle every time'." - Chattanooga Times Free Press

August 4, 2014 -  summer specialists
"While there's little question about Marshall Morgan returning as Georgia's top kicker in 2014, they're going to have to go a few rounds in preseason to name a starter for the Bulldogs at punter. There is 'definitely' competition ongoing right now between Collin Barber and Adam Erickson for the starting role against Clemson, said assistant coach John Lilly, who coaches UGA's punt team. 'Collin and Adam both are embracing the competition,' Lilly said. 'The great thing is you've got two guys that you feel very comfortable with, because they've both been in the heat of it before and both performed well at different times. I'm kind of excited to see how it plays out.' Lilly says the Bulldogs have worked live punting situations already twice in the first four days of practice." - 247 Sports

April 21, 2014 - punting competition
"Collin Barber was Georgia’s top punter last season until Adam Erickson overtook him down the stretch. 'I let it get to me a little bit,' Barber said. 'I’ve never been one to ride the bench.' The rising junior who was recruited to Georgia on scholarship was competing again for the job this spring with Erickson, the senior walk-on out of Clarke Central High. So how did it play out during the 15 practices heading into the summer? 'I would say they’re going to be co-No. 1 right now,' said John Lilly, Georgia’s co-special teams coordinator who oversees the punt team. 'And that’s not a knock against either one. It’s a good thing that they make the decision hard because I think they’re both really quality guys'." - Dog Bytes Online

April 5, 2014 - second spring scrimmage
"Perhaps the most impressive player of the day for the Bulldogs was junior kicker Marshall Morgan. Morgan finished Saturday's scrimmage 4-for-4 kicking having made a 22-yard kick, two 47-yard kicks and a 59-yard kick, though Richt said that the team might have to review the tape to see whether or not Morgan's 59-yard attempt actually cleared the crossbar." - The Red & Black

April 3, 2014 - double coaching for special teams
"The frequent calls for Georgia to have a special teams coordinator on its football staff have been heard. The Bulldogs now have not one, but two in co-coordinators Mike Ekeler and John Lilly.... Georgia is devoting two practice periods a day and a walk-through focused on special teams. There are new drills added and schemes changed.... Offensive line coach Will Friend is also involved with the field goal/extra point team. 'I had the kicker last year,' Lilly said half-joking, 'because he was pretty good last year.' That would be first-team all-SEC selection Marshall Morgan. As far as punter, Lilly couldn’t identify whether Adam Erickson or Collin Barber leads. 'It depends on what day you ask me,' he said." - Athens Banner-Herald

Friday, December 12, 2014

Utah punter Tom Hackett wins 2014 Ray Guy Award

Utah junior punter Tom Hackett was announced today as the winner of the Ray Guy Award, which is presented to the nation's top punter. Hackett becomes the first Utah player to win an award presented by the National College Football Awards Association, which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. Hackett, who was also named a first-team Walter Camp All-American today, leads the nation in punts inside the 20 (35) and 10 (19) yard lines and ranks second nationally in punt average (47.0). The two-time All-Pac-12 punter has put 35-of-77 (45.5%) punts inside the 20 this season, a percentage that leads the Pac-12. Hackett is second in the nation with a school-record 3,619 punt yards and second in the conference in punts of 50+ yards (25). Utah is third in the nation in net punting (42.81).... The other finalists for the Ray Guy Award were Alabama freshman JK Scott and Idaho sophomore Austin Rehkow. - Utes

“I was happy, just relieved for the whole thing to be done with and looking to move on to the bowl game now and get back in Salt Lake City and enjoy practice tomorrow,” said Hackett, who is Utah’s first Ray Guy Award recipient. “It’s obviously an honor to win that award with Ray Guy being able to be present,” Hackett said. “It was awesome to be able to meet him and chat with him and talk about football and punting in particular.” Hackett was joined at the gathering by the other two finalists for the Ray Guy Award — Alabama freshman JK Scott and Idaho sophomore Austin Rehkow — and most of college football’s top players and coaches. “It was good fun,” Hackett said. “I enjoyed myself.” - Deseret News

Maryland kicker Brad Craddock wins 2014 Lou Groza Award

University of Maryland kicker Brad Craddock was named the recipient of the 23rd Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award as announced at the Home Depot College Football Awards Show.... Craddock earned the honor over fellow finalists Roberto Aguayo of Florida State, who won the award in 2013, and Josh Lambert of West Virginia.... Craddock has converted 18 of his 19 his field goals attempts and has made 11 field goals from 40-plus yards including a school-record 57-yard field goal against Ohio State on October 4. His conversion rate of 94.7 percent is a single-season school record and for his career he has made 81.7 percent of his kicks (49-60), which is also a program record. - Terrapins

“It is a fantastic honor for Brad to be the recipient of the Lou Groza Award,” Maryland coach Randy Edsall said in a statement of Craddock, who signed with the Terps as a punter before switching to kicker in his freshman year because of an injury to Nick Ferrara. “His work ethic and competitiveness are unmatched and personify what all of our student-athletes should strive to achieve. To see him arrive at Maryland having never played football and transforming himself into the best kicker in the nation is something that is very special. This is a great honor and very well-deserved.” - Baltimore Sun

“I think, obviously, being here for three years, you understand what all these awards are and what they mean to get and how hard they are to get, so you know, it’s obviously just an honor to be standing down here,” Craddock said on a conference call from Orlando, where he was presented with the award as part of ESPN’s annual college football awards show. “Having my name called was just a blessing on top of all the other blessings I’ve achieved. I’m just really excited.” - Washington Times 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

All-Conference College Specialists 2014

The following kickers and punters (and long snapper in a few cases) have been named first team all-conference players for 2014:

AAC American Athletic Conference
  • K Jake Elliott, Memphis
  • P Mattias Ciabatti, USF
ACC Atlantic Coast Conference
  • K Roberto Aguayo, Florida State
  • P Wil Baumann, NC State
ASC American Southwest Conference
  • K Adan Olivares, Louisiana College
  • P Nico Francino, Hardin-Simmons
  • P Tim Willett, Louisiana College
AUS Atlantic University Sport
  • K Ryan Begin, Acadia
  • P Kyle McLean, Mount Allison
Big 12
  • K Josh Lambert, West Virginia
  • P Trevor Pardula, Kansas
Big Sky
  • K Brad Cornish, Jr., Sacramento State
  • P Kyle Loomis, Portland State
Big South
  • K John Lunsford, Liberty
  • P Trey Turner, Liberty
  • LS Shane Ballard, Coastal Carolina
Big Ten
  • K Brad Craddock, Maryland
  • P Peter Mortell, Minnesota
CAA Colonial Athletic Association
  • K John Carpenter, William & Mary
  • P Eric Enderson, Delaware
CCIW College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin
  • K Dom Zavaglia, North Central
  • P Matt Kussmann, Illinois Wesleyan
Centennial Conference
  • K Connor Winter, Muhlenberg
  • P Eric Boyer, Ursinus
CIAA Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association
  • K Alajandro Suarez, Winston-Salem State
  • P Christopher Palmer, Bowie State
Conference USA 
  • K Corey Acosta, Southern Miss
  • P Tyler Williams, Marshall
  • LS Matt Cincotta, Marshall
CSFL Central States Football League
  • K Trey Tully, Oklahoma Baptist
  • P Chadd Dearen, Southwestern Assemblies of God
CW Canada West
  • K Johnny Mark, Calgary
  • P Denton Kolodzinski, Saskatchewan
ECFC Eastern Collegiate Football Conference
  • K Diogo Dietrich, SUNY Maritime
  • P Stefano Marziale, Anna Maria
Empire 8 Athletic Conference
  • K Marc Montana, Buffalo State
  • P Kyle Hamby, Salisbury
Frontier Conference
  • K Aldrick Ross, Southern Oregon
  • P Rhys Felton, Carroll College
GAC Great American Conference
  • K Houston Ray, Henderson State
  • P Jared Heim, Southeastern Oklahoma State
GLIAC Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
  • K Brent Wahle, Ohio Dominican
  • P Chris Picano, Grand Valley State 
GLVC Great Lakes Valley Conference
  • K Scott Miller, Indianapolis
  • P Jacob Lamp, Truman State
GNAC Great Northwest Athletic Conference
  • K Matt Bruder, Humboldt State
  • P Chris Campbell, Humboldt State
GPAC Great Plains Athletic Conference
  • K Adam Meirose, Concordia
  • P Zach Decker, Morningside
GSC Gulf South Conference
  • K Taylor Pontius, North Alabama
  • P James Dugan, West Georgia
HAAC  Heart of America Athletic Conference
  • K Cristian Casillas, MidAmerica Nazerene
  • P Cody Thornton, Graceland
HCAC Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference
  • K Shane Kelly, Mount St. Joseph
  • P Ryan Acosta, Earlham
IIAC Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
  • K Kevin Sheldon, Central
  • P Grant Zimmerman, Wartburg
Ivy League
  • K Nolan Bieck, Princeton
  • K Kyle Cazzetta, Yale
  • P Chris Fraser, Cornell
KCAC Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference
  • K Dominic Sigala, Ottawa
  • P Jeff Stamp, Ottawa
Liberty League
  • K Andrew Franks, RPI
  • P Vinny Tavernelli, WPI
LSC Lone Star Conference
  • K Saul Martinez, Texas A&M-Commerce
  • P Sam Fowler, Angelo State
  • LS Cody Clark, Angelo State
MAC Mid-American Conference
  • K Scott Secor, Ball State
  • P Anthony Melchiori, Kent State
MAC Middle Atlantic Conference
  • K Daniel Sobolewski, Albright
  • P Patrick Newins, Misericordia
MASCAC Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference
  • K Michael Killoran, Western Connecticut State
  • P Ryan Falaguerra, Western Connecticut State
MEAC Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference
  • K Cody Jones, North Carolina A&T State
  • P Christian Kinney, Hampton
MEC Mountain East Conference
  • K Andy Ellington, Concord
  • P Griffin Yocum, West Liberty
MIAA Michigan Intercollegiate Athletics Association
  • K Joel Lopshire, Trine
  • P Dean DeVries, Hope
MIAA Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association
  • K Connor Frazell, Pittsburg State
  • P Scott Groner, Missouri Western
MIAC Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
  • K Alexi Johnson, Saint John's
  • P Thomas Scheusener, Gustavus
MSC Mid-South Conference
  • East Division K Caleb Keeton, Lindsey Wilson
  • East Division P Daniel Griffon, Bluefield
  • West Division K Mike Self, Cumberland
  • West Division K Will Ward, Campbellsville
  • West Division P Robby Phillips, Bethel (TN)
MSFA Mid-States Football Association
  • K & P Josh Techeira, Robert Morris
  • P Brandon Haan, Taylor
MVFC Missouri Valley Football Conference
  • K Michael Schmadeke, Northern Iowa
  • P Ben LeCompte, North Dakota State
  • LS Chris Highland, Illinois State
MWC Midwest Conference
  • K Ace Henricks, Monmouth
  • P Graham Fisher, Grinnell
MW Mountain West Conference
  • K Will Conant, Air Force
  • P Scott Harding, Hawaii
NCAC  North Coast Athletic Conference
  • K Evan Grissom, Wittenberg
  • P Max Schenk, Oberlin
NEC Northeast Conference
  • K Lance Geesey, Saint Francis
  • P Zach Drayer, Saint Francis
NEFC New England Football Conference
  • K Tucker Cheyne, MIT
  • P Tyler Henning, Coast Guard
NESCAC New England Small College Athletic Conference
  • K Phillip Nwosu, Amherst
  • P Kyle Pulek, Trinity
NJAC New Jersey Athletic Conference
  • K Tyler Knighton, Rowan
  • P Joe Janovic, Montclair State
Northeast-10 Conference
  • K Shane Grayson, Saint Anselm
  • P Ryan Handy, Stonehill
NSAA North Star Athletic Association
  • K Thomas Cortes, Valley City State
  • P Josh Borm, Dickinson State
NSIC Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference
  • North K Andrew Brees, Minnesota Duluth
  • North P Aaron La Deaux, Minot State
  • South K Tom Obarski, Concordia-St. Paul
  • south P Mike Wenk, Southwest Minnesota State
OAC Ohio Athletic Conference
  • K Ed Ruhnke, Mount Union
  • P Sam Green, Muskingum
ODAC Old Dominion Athletic Conference
  • K & P Tyler Hunt, Guilford
OVC Ohio Valley Conference
  • K Ryan McCrum, Southeast Missouri
  • P Hamish MacInnes, Jacksonville State
OUA Ontario University Athletics
  • K Tyler Crapigna, McMaster
  • P Ryan Nieuwesteeg, Guelph
PAC Presidents' Athletic Conference
  • K Justin Dahl, Westminster College
  • P Stephen Amic, Bethany College
  • K Andy Phillips, Utah
  • P Tom Hackett, Utah
Patriot League
  • K Jonah Bowman, Colgate
  • P Austin Devine, Lehigh
PFL Pioneer Football League
  • K David Last, San Diego
  • P Adam Lutz, Campbell
PSAC Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference
  • East K Alec Rosenfeld, Kutztown
  • East P Jordan Bair, East Stroudsburg
  • West K Cody Nuzzo, California
  • West P Andy Cerett, California
RMAC Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference
  • K Ryan Winke, Western State Colorado
  • P Patrick Carney, New Mexico Highlands
RSEQ Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec
  • K & P Boris Bede, Laval
SAA Southern Athletic Association
  • K Steve Crenshaw, Hendrix
  • P Patrick Knight, Rhodes
SAC South Atlantic Conference
  • K Justin Powell, Lenoir-Rhyne
  • P Kyle Clark, Newberry
  • LS  Dusty Nance, Carson-Newman
SCAC Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference
  • K Tyler Brandenburg, Texas Lutheran
  • P Chadd Brown, Texas Lutheran
  • P Matthew Kennemer, Trinity
SCIAC Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
  • K Markus Trujillo, Chapman
  • P Jack McFarland, Cal Lutheran
SEC Southeastern Conference
  • K Austin MacGinnis, Kentucky
  • P JK Scott, Alabama
SIAC Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
  • K & P Juan Serna, Fort Valley State
SLC Southland Conference
  • K Ryan Adams, Southeastern Louisiana
  • P Lachlan Edwards, Sam Houston State
SoCon Southern Conference  
  • K Henrique Ribeiro, Chattanooga
  • P Greg Peranich, Samford
SBC Sun Belt Conference
  • K Justin Manton, Louisiana-Monroe
  • P Austin Rehkow, Idaho
Sun Conference
  • K Caleb Winter, Southeastern
  • P David Strickland, Point
SWAC Southwestern Athletic Conference
  • K Ryan Deising, Jackson State
  • K & P Haiden McCraney, Alcorn State
UAA University Athletic Association
  • K Alex Hallwachs, Washington (MO)
  • P Alec Stanke, Washington (MO)
  • LS Joseph Greene, Chicago
UMAC Upper Midwest Athletic Conference
  • K Mike Theismann, St. Scholastica
  • P Donnie Mavencamp, Minnesota-Morris
USA South
  • K & P Mason Studer, Christopher Newport
WIAC Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
  • K Ryan Kusilek, River Falls
  • P Nate Ray, Oshkosh
WSFL Western States Football league
  • K Edgar Gastelum, Arizona Western College
  • P Tommy Jewell, Snow College
  • P Kolby Gregory, Glendale CC
Please let us know if you are aware of any additions for this list.