Tony Miliano Improves During Off-Season

Junior place kicker Tony Miliano is physically and mentally ready for the 2013 season.

Tony Miliano will be in his third season as the starting kicker for the Cincinnati Bearcats and will be looking to have his best year yet during the 2013 campaign. The Cincinnati Elder grad has been working hard this off-season to improve his mental and physical approach. During camp, Miliano has kicked well and feels the work he has put in with Strength and Conditioning Coach Joe Walker will result in a successful year for the kicking game.

"Coach Walker has a really great strength program," Miliano said after practice Wednesday. "It's really tailored to everyone's individual needs, which is nice for me as a kicker. We do a lot of speed training and when it comes to kicking its all about your leg speed."

Miliano is 26 of 34 on field goal attempts during his time at UC. He was named Big East Special Teams Player of the Week in week four last season and has had some bright spots during his career thus far. However, Miliano has had trouble getting the ball up, which has resulted in crucial missed and blocked attempts.

In 2011, the Bearcats were in a roller coaster game with West Virginia at Paul Brown Stadium. This was a big conference matchup and Miliano had a chance to tie the game late but the Mountaineers blocked the field goal and the Bearcats went back to Clifton with a loss. You can partly blame the blocking scheme but Miliano said that game in 2011 and several others last year had him work hard this off-season to correct his mistakes.

"I feel like I have been hitting the ball better than I ever had. Especially these last couple days. I had a big problem last year with getting the ball up and I feel like this year I'm getting them up there and a lot of that credit goes to my training in the off-season with Coach Walker."

Football is a physical game and Miliano seems in shape for a great season. However, a kicker not only needs the physical tools but the mental game to be clutch late in the contest. Great NFL kickers like Adam Vinatieri have developed the ability to tune out all those around them and knock down that game-winning kick. So how do you approach such a nerve-racking situation? Miliano gave his view.

"As a kicker you hope for situations like that. Some kickers are looked at as head cases but a lot of us really like that pressure. You get out there and hitting a game- winning field goal is like a dream come true. Your obviously going to get excited but you just have to calm your nerves and have fun with it."

Miliano along with the entire 2013 team will look to have a lot of fun this season. When your winning your having fun and the Bearcats will be ready to get that elusive first win against Purdue on Saturday. If it comes down to one last kick, the new and improved junior foot specialist seems confident and ready to hit that game-winning field goal.

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