It appears as if Coach Terry Hoeppner has found a player who breaks the mold that kickers are not athletes. Freshman Joe Kleinsmith may prove to be a vital asset to the Hoosiers, and not just with his kicking game.
Kleinsmith played both receiver and safety along with handling the kicking game in high school when he played at St. Edward High School in Lakewood, Ohio. He can even block kicks. While it is highly unlikely Kleinsmith will be coming off the edge on the punt block team this season, he has a great shot at landing the starting kicker job.
"I talked to Coach Hoeppner and he told me just to be ready, to get my head in the game," said Kleinsmith. "I've been working hard all summer and I came (to Bloomington) three weeks early just to get focused.
"Coach Hoeppner has told us how important punting and special teams are during a course of a game. It's easier to score with a short field and putting points on the board is the name of the game."
Last season the Hoosiers finished in the bottom half of the Big Ten in field goals and extra points made. While kicker Bryan Robertson was successful 78.6 percent of the time, good for fourth in the conference, the Hoosiers attempted just 14 field goals on the season. Hoeppner hopes his spread offense will give the Hoosiers more opportunities to score.
"I've been following IU for a few years and I know what happened before I got here," said Kleinsmith. "I'm here to change that. I've been working hard to make sure that doesn't happen again.
"Our offense and defense has the capabilities to make big plays. We need the special teams to be able to keep us in the field position battle and score when called upon."
As camp gets underway, Kleinsmith and the rest of the Indiana specialists have been spending every spare second working on the fundamentals to be ready for the season.
"Everyday we kick before practice, we kick during practice and afterwards we go over to the stadium and we work on all the small things to make sure everything is going smoothly," said Kleinsmith.
"We work on the small things everyday. You have to get the form and technique done correctly and after that it's all just your natural athleticism."
Kleinsmith had an impressive high school career and finished it with a flurry his senior season. He proved his leg strength when he tied a school record with a 52-yard field goal and as a punter he averaged an impressive 43.6 yards per kick. He also blocked nine kicks/punts in his final two high school seasons.
"High school was fun because I played both ways and I barely came off the field," he said." I loved blocking kicks because it pretty much just padded my stats."
Does he expect to block any kicks on the college level?
"We have great athletes on this defense already," said Kleinsmith. "I'm sure they can take care of it, but if Coach Hep ever needs me to I'll be willing to try to block a kick or two."
Newcomer Kleinsmith To Give IU A Lift
Peegs.com Top Stories
Hoosiers in the NFL: Week 7Each week Peegs.com checks in on the all the action in the NFL and how former Hoosier players are doing around the league. This week we take a look at how eight former Indiana…
Peegs Podcast: Stopping the SlideIndiana is on a three-game losing streak and hopes to rebound at home with Maryland coming to town. The Terrapins are off to a solid start, but IU will have its opportunities at…
Peegs.comYesterday at 10:01 PM
Ten Takeaways: Maryland weekIndiana looks to snap their three game losing streak this week when they host the Maryland Terrapins at Memorial Stadium. Here are Ten takeaways from the Monday conversation with…
Peegs.comYesterday at 3:21 PM