Parkey Looking For Improvement As A Junior

Auburn kicker Cody Parkey talks about the new rules for kickoffs and preparations for the 2012 football season.

Auburn, Ala.--After appearing in only seven games his freshman year, Auburn kicker Cody Parkey became a household name for Tiger fans in 2011 as he recorded 38 touchbacks on 66 kickoffs and made 13 field goals.

The junior had the assignment of replacing four-year starter Wes Byrum. Parkey made 13 of his 18 attempts, hitting six of 10 from 40-plus, with his longest make at 45 yards. He also made 41-42 extra points.

"I feel like I had a decent year," Parkey told Inside the Auburn Tigers. "It was my first year really starting, but, at the same time, I was 73 to74 percent on field goals, something like that, and that's not going to cut it. I need to be a lot better than that."

Parkey's 2012 season comes with a new rule for kickoffs, which will offer a different challenge after he averaged 68.9 yards per attempt last year.

The new rule places the ball at the 35-yard line instead of the 30. While this would benefit the former Under Armour All-American's efforts to put kickoffs into the end zone, touchbacks will now place the ball on the 25-yard line as opposed to the 20.

"It's kind of like, ‘Do we kick it out of the end zone and not let them try, or do we try to pin them in even closer?'" Parkey said. "It depends on the returner, I guess."

The summer for Parkey has consisted of not only trying to kick the football into the end zone, but also working on shorter kicks with better hang time to help Auburn's coverage team.

"I'm just really working on the fundamentals and trying to make my job easier for everyone else," he noted. "The more I can do, the better our team will be."

Parkey has also been working on his accuracy and distance putting the ball through the uprights on field goals. "In practice 55 (yards) and in is mainly where I practice," he said. "The only time I'd get to kick a 60-yarder would be if the game is on the line or at the end of a half or something. I feel pretty comfortable in the 50-55 range."

Despite not having a chance to kick a field goal close to 55 yards last season, Parkey said working out every day, which was initially a shock when he came in as a freshman, has built muscle and allowed him to put more power into kicks.

"From last year into this year, I've just got to continue getting stronger and have to be able to control that power so I'm working on a lot of accuracy as well," he noted.

Parkey became one of the SEC's top kickers as a sophomore.

One major question for the Tigers' special teams is who will be the long snapper. The battle has come down to Forrest Hill and Jake Lembke, Parkey said.

"I know Jake Lembke has been on a little internship so it's been Forrest these last couple of weeks working with us," Parkey said. "That's been a real good spot to fill. It's still an open competition as far as I'm concerned."

Parkey said he has talked to former long snapper Josh Harris. "He is doing well, living the dream with the Atlanta Falcons," the kicker said. He noted that no one worked harder than Harris nor deserved being signed more.

As the 2012 season approaches, winning the Lou Groza Award, which is presented to the nation's top kicker, is something Parkey would like to do. "That's obviously always one of my goals in mind," he said. "If I cannot miss an extra point or field goal, that's another goal. I've just been working hard to put myself in the right position to be able to do that."

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