2013 football position by position: kicking
As we’re just weeks away from the start of the football season, it’s time to take a detailed position-by-position look at the 2012 EMU football team. This is our time to refresh our memory about returning players, and learn a little about the new faces. This morning we continue this series with special teams.
Lost: Mike Zupancic (long snapper), Matt Bowman (long snapper), Jay Karutz (punter), Alex Gillett (holder), Mike Yocum.
Mike Zupancic played every game for four years as EMU’s long snapper, and I can never recall having cause to complain about him. That’s about all you can ask from a long snapper; it’s a difficult position and remarkably thankless.
As EMU’s punter for the last three years, Jay Karutz was one of the few consistent positives for the Eagles. He delivered quality punting, game after game, punting for more than 8,000 yards in his career, and averaging about 43 yards per punt in 2012.
Presumptive starters: Kody Fulkerson (kickoffs), senior; Chris O’Risky (long snapper), freshman; Dylan Mulder (PATs and FGs), sophomore; Austin Barnes (punter), freshman.
Kody Fulkerson kicked every kickoff for EMU last year, and there’s no reason to think he won’t fill the same role this fall. After Fulkerson struggled with distance (and by distance, I mean PAT distance) in the first two games, Dylan Mulder took over the PAT and field goal kicking duties, and did a fine job the rest of the year, converting 24 of 27 PATs (89% — not great) and 10 of 11 field goals (91% –the fifth best nationally).
I’m guessing that Chris O’Risky will get the nod as long snapper, since that’s really his specialty. ESPN ranked him the #13 long snapper in his class, while Scout ranked him #7. Likewise, Austin Barnes comes in as a three-star recruit ranked as the #18 kicker in his class, plus he gets a bonus for the goofiest looking bio photo.
Depth: Owen Dubiel (punter), junior; Brendan Renius (place kicker), redshirt freshman; Chance Monarch (long snapper/DB), freshman.
I’m not going to even try to guess who the new holder will be, beyond saying that I expect it to be one of the back-up quarterbacks.