WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 17, 2011
Kicking battle among the best in camp
With the kicking area of the roster overrun with freshmen, one could make the case for concern about the Jacksonville University special teams. Not so fast.
The place kickers and punters are young. Three of the four involved are first-year players with the oldest is a sophomore. But, through early camp, they’ve put up a spirited battle for the starting job, especially on the place kicking side and that battle is going down to the wire.
Sophomore Bladen Gudz (Madison, Fla.) who dressed out for some games last season, and freshmen Dallas Stubbs (Gainesville, Fla.) and Blake Myregaard (Safety Harbor, Fla.) are waging a neck and neck and neck battle.
“I wouldn’t say one guy is ahead, but everybody has kicked well enough to be in the mix,’’ special teams (kicking) coach Kerry Webb said. “We’re going to see how things play out this last week. It’s going to come down to the wire. It’s going to be a job that’s won in the next week of camp.’’
Even though they are trying to win the job, all three said they remain close and will support the starter. They also said they’re enjoying the competition.
“It’s a battle where we’re all competing and the competition makes us all better,’’ Myregaard said. “It’s just going to be at the end, best man wins, and until then we’ve just got to give our best and whatever happens happens. It’s healthy competition, no doubt.’’
Each also knows that any misstep may cost them their big chance.
“You get a chance to shine and it’s a make or break situation,” Gudz said, “if you miss and somebody else makes it, they’re obviously going to be looking at the person who makes it. That’s how it is.’’
The competition is something new and was an adjustment for Stubbs.
“It’s nothing that I’m used to,’’ he said. “When I was in high school I never had competition, I was always the starter. Definitely it was a big adjustment. It’s a little different but it’s good because it makes everybody better. It’s all good.’’
Meanwhile, Webb is keeping his eyes focused on the group. While he sees the potential, there is a no way to know how any of the youngsters will react in a game situation.
“We’ve been fortunate to have veteran kickers in the past, but I feel good about these guys,’’ he said. “I think all three of them are the type guys who can do it in game situations but we won’t know until then. It’s obviously a concern area because we haven’t had them in a game, but all three of them are talented and can give us something.’’
While the trio battles, it appears Garrett Mohr has the punting job pretty well wrapped up with Myregaard as his understudy. Mohr, son of former NFL punter Chris Mohr, has a leg coach Kerwin Bell believes might be NFL worthy and is very accurate directionally.
“We really like Garrett,’’ Webb said. “Myregaard can punt so we feel good at that position. With those two we feel good with where we’re at.’’