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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Doherty has leg up as do-it-all KU kicker

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When the 2011 season ended, the Kansas University football program had a couple of young kickers on its roster, both of whom received meaningful playing time and handled different duties throughout the season.

As the Jayhawks crawl toward the start of training camp — players report Aug. 1 and practices begin Aug. 2 — only junior Ron Doherty and a host of unknowns remain.

“Obviously, Ron’s the one-man gang right now,” KU coach Charlie Weis said. “And he’ll be involved in some way. Whether he’s the punter, whether he’s the kickoff guy, whether he’s the kicker, whether he’s all of the above, I don’t know. But at least he’ll have competition in all three of them. It won’t be just a slam dunk that he’s the guy.”

Despite the departure of sophomore Alex Mueller, the starting place kicker for most of 2011, Weis does not seem overly concerned about his team’s outlook in the kicking game. A couple of walk-ons are expected to be in camp this fall, and Weis said all of them would provide competition for Doherty.

“We have more than one punter here now, we have multiple kickers here, we have multiple snappers,” Weis said. “There (are) people here and they’ll contend.”

Earlier this summer, Doherty was one of 25 punters named to the Ray Guy Award watch list. The 5-foot-11, 215-pound kicker from Klein, Texas, finished the 2011 season third in the Big 12 and 27th in the country with a 42.8-yard punting average. He had 13 punts of 50 yards or more and dropped 15 of his punts inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. Such numbers earned him honorable mention all-Big 12 nods from both the league’s coaches and the Associated Press.

Late in the season, Doherty took over place kicking duties and connected on three of four field goal attempts. He also handled 22 of KU’s 52 kickoffs in 2011, and Weis said he would not be shy about going with Doherty in all three areas if he proved he was the best man for each job.

“Just as long as his leg can hold up,” Weis said. “That’s my issue. If he is (KU’s main kicker), those other guys will have to handle a lot more kicking in practice and take a lot of the heat off of him.”

Weis said recently he would release the updated roster and depth chart on Aug. 1. From the sound of things, there may be more than one other kicker competing in camp this fall. Austin Barone, a walk-on from Pittsburg, is expected to be in camp, but it seems like a safe bet that there may be at least one or two more vying for the various kicking jobs.

“I think even as a kicker, it’s good to have competition,” Weis said.

Start times released

The Big 12 Conference on Friday released the kickoff times for the first three games of the 2012 season.

The Jayhawks will open the season with a 6 p.m. kickoff against South Dakota State at Memorial Stadium on Sept. 1. The following week, KU will welcome Rice to town for a 2:30 p.m. start, and, in Week 3, Kansas and TCU will kick off the Big 12 season with an 11 a.m. game at Memorial Stadium.

Television plans for all three games are still being finalized and will be released shortly. Start times for the rest of KU’s schedule will be set as the season unfolds.

Benefit BBQ

KU coach Charlie Weis and various members of his coaching staff will be the featured guests at a preseason barbecue on Aug. 30, outside of Memorial Stadium.

All proceeds raised by the event, which will begin at 7 p.m. and will take place on the hill near the south end zone, will go toward Weis’ Hannah & Friends foundation, which provides a positive living environment for people with special needs.

For more information, contact Sharon at sharon@hannahandfriends.org or via telephone at (574)-214-7959.

Comments

ahpersecoachingexperience 9 years, 10 months ago

There is no way I'm going to comment on an article about kickers!

Bville Hawk 9 years, 10 months ago

Come on, ahperse. It's a football article about our resurgent and undefeated KU football team. Enjoy the moment and rejoice!

Marcia Parsons 9 years, 10 months ago

It seemed clear to me. One person is known, and all the others are unknowns. How is that contradictory and unclear?

Kendall Von Bevern 9 years, 10 months ago

Why would "Only" imply one? Only KU and Kentucky made the NCAA final last year. Only Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor were drafted from last years team. Only can be used with many things.

Edward Daub 9 years, 10 months ago

Well , look at the bright side. At least we won't have Gill sending in Mueller to attempt 50 yard field goals, that don't have a chance.

KGphoto 9 years, 10 months ago

Doherty has a chance to be a real story this year. I can't think of a single kicker, college or pro, who has handled ALL of the kicking for a whole season. He could make the All-Conference team at two positions if he improves a little on PK. That's pretty cool, even if ahpersmyasshurtscoach doesn't think so.

number1jayhawker 9 years, 10 months ago

The kid at Okie Light handles both kicking and punting. Plus he's very good.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 10 months ago

Didn't Henery (SP) do both for the corn his last year a few years ago?

It definitely not common though.

My question is how did he completely miss the preseason team?

kualum95 9 years, 9 months ago

Kicking game will fall flat on it's face....Rivals had Mueller ranked 5th in the country. I know rankings aren't everything, however he was a true freshman trying to kick 50 yarders when the team was down 50 points (whats up with that ???). Dumb to blow up the special team group, including the long snapper Gibas (ranked 3rd nationally, come on) all for the sake of getting back some scholly's to give to 5th yr seniors. I think anything to do with Gill, is no good in the eyes of the regime in place now.

JayDocMD 9 years, 10 months ago

Quite the fall for Doherty: fired by both North Carolina and SMU and now a college kicker.

wastewatcher 9 years, 10 months ago

The kicker from Pittsburg had a great highschool career and can be counted on to push Doherty this year. Barone was extremely accurate on his field goals, making 16 of 18 from 32 to 44 yards. He can provide great depth if he does't kick early on.

texashawk10 9 years, 10 months ago

Doherty is a pretty good punter, 42+ yards for a college punter is pretty good, but as a place kicker, he was below average in his limited opportunities. Long of 37 and missed a 39 yarder doesn't exactly build much confidence that he has any more range than Mueller did. I don't think it should be all that difficult to find a kicker that can be in the high 90% range from inside 40, over 75% from 40-45, and about 50% from 45-50.

Kman_blue 9 years, 10 months ago

I believe another one of the "host of unknowns" besides Austin Barone is Sean Huddleston out of Foothill HS in Santa Ana, CA. He's 6'1" and 200lbs. who had touch backs in 60% of his kickoffs his senior year in HS. He won a slew of special teams awards in 2009 including special teams MVP in his conference. Scout ranked him the #3 punter in "the West" going into his senior year in HS. Scout link: http://recruiting.scout.com/2/1002003.html

Here's his profile on Chris Sailer kicking, a football P and K recruiting and rating site. They have his class year wrong. He graduated HS in 2011, so I'm not sure what he was doing last year, but I think he may have been on a JUCO team and why Chris Sailer thought he wouldn't come out until 2013.

http://www.chrissailerkicking.com/player-profiles/2013/1665/PlayerProfile.html

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