Wednesday, July 16, 2008

2008 Position Previews: Kickers and Punters

This is the sixth part of my position by position breakdown of the 2008 roster.

BC skated by all year without a consistent DIA kicker. Unfortunately the one game where an inconsistent kicker became a factor was the ACC Championship Game. The difficulties with place kicking was offset by Ayers' great season punting. This year is about hope, like, I hope Aponavicius added some length, I hope Bennett stays healthy, and I hope Quigley is ready right away.

Saying our kicking game was lacking is not an understatement. We had the second worst net kickoff average in the ACC. We only had six touchbacks (tied for 7th in the ACC). We also had the second lowest kickoff distance in the ACC. Aponavicius was adequate on PATs, but his limited range led us to only attempt 18 field goals! Of those 18 he only made 12. By comparison there were six kickers in the ACC who converted more than 80% of there field goal attempts. I don't expect Aponavicius to suddenly become Adam Vinatieri, but I hope he can improve this year.

The Players
K – Steve Aponavicius, SR, 5’10, 183lbs
K – Billy Bennett, SO, 6’1, 198lbs
P/K - Ryan Quigley, FR, 6'3, 175lbs

By now everyone knows Aponavicius' plucked from the stands story. Now he is on his second scholarship season. As mentioned he's not terrible on FGs. Kickoffs are another story. Because of his limited strength, we squibed repeatedly. Frustratingly he'd occasionally kick it normally with some effectiveness. I hope they return to that strategy. I would rather take the chance of a big return than put opponents on the 35 over and over again. We don't know much about Bennett. He was highly regarded but faced nagging injuries last year. If he stays healthy, he is likely to take over the kickoff duties. Quigley is a true incoming freshmen. He kicked and punted in high school. Due to the depth chart, he should be our primary punter from Day 1. If the other two struggle, Quigley might get a shot at kicking too.

Quigley has big shoes to fill. Because we are unlikely to score as prolifically, punting will be even more of an issue. If Quigley struggles, it will put pressure on our D. As for kicking, Bennett and Aponovicius stay healthy and reach their potential, then we should be fine. If they play like they did in 2007, I am going to spend many of our special team's plays with my hand covering my eyes.


K said...

You should probably include Billy Flutie in the mix, since the media guide notes that he "could become BC's starting punter."

Eagle1 said...

Last year's kicking game was awful. To allow a repeat performance this year would be inexcusable. If Aponavicious hasn't spent the entire off-season in the gym turning his legs into tree-trunks, we need to grab any kid from the BC men's soccer team for kickoff duty ASAP.