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Latest on Kicker/Punter Roles for Iowa

Iowa had a lot of success on special teams in 2015 but the 2016 season brings change with a new kicker and punter taking over for the Hawkeyes.

The 2015 season may have spoiled Iowa fans as they had no worries about who would man the special teams jobs. The kicking and punting games were both sound outside of Marshall Koehn's yips on extra points near the end of the year. 

Fast forward to 2016 and both the kicker and punting jobs are open and position battles still continue throughout fall camp. 

At the kicking spot, four names are in the discussion. That would be sophomore Miguel Recinos, sophomore Mick Ellis (who is on scholarship), true freshman Keith Duncan of North Carolina and another true freshman in Caleb Shudak. 

The most unlikely to win the job would be Shudak. He just arrived in Iowa City a short time ago and probably won't have the time to command the starting role. He was on hand for Kids' Day in Kinnick Stadium and took part in the scrimmage but showed some inconsistency. 

"Full disclosure, Shudak was out there today," head coach Kirk Ferentz said after the scrimmage on Saturday. "He has had a bad week. He wasn't here this summer and it looked like it. He looked as nervous as could be. I thought he did a real nice job today. It looked like the guy we saw in a camp a year ago. It was good to see. He's a quality guy. Sometimes it's a matter of getting settled in a bit and trying to relax. Funny he had to relax in front of other people. Maybe he's a gamer."

Other than that, the kicking job appears to be wide open between Recinos, Ellis, and Duncan.

Recinos missed his first few field goals of the day on Saturday but rebounded nicely which is good to see from a kicker as they have to have short memories in order to be able to respond even when things aren't going their way. He also may have showed off the strongest leg, having the ball cut through the wind a bit better than the others.

Ellis had by far the most consistent day during the scrimmage. He may not have the leg strength that Recinos does, but he made all the field goals he attempted other than the last two (against the wind). One was a bad whiff to the left where his ball was not able to slice through the crosswind in Kinnick and the other was tipped at the line of scrimmage and came just short of the crossbar.

Duncan actually looked very, very good for a freshman and only had a couple misses as well. Unfortunately his misses were a bit more substantial as he was victim to two blocked field goals by Anthony Gair. 

"Today was a really good day," Kirk Ferentz said after the scrimmage about his kickers. "Maybe it hasn't looked as good in practice but today was a really good day for them."

We would guess that the kicker to open the game against Miami (Ohio) will be one of Recinos or Ellis, with Recinos possibly having the slight edge at this time.

In terms of punters, that competition seems to be a bit more impressive at this time as the coaches seem very encouraged by both of their options.

"It's been pretty good, actually," Ferentz admitted about his punters. "I'm afraid to say that. "I thought the week was good overall. Colten (Rastetter) continues to show very good potential. Consistency is his challenge. It was our first time to have a chance to be on the field with Ron Coluzzi. He acts like an older guy. He's a fifth year guy and graduated. He acts kind of like that. He's been through the wars and understands the ups and downs. For the most part he's been pretty consistent. It's a good 1-2 punch right there and the competition has been healthy."

In terms of kickoffs, punter Ron Coluzzi might have a stranglehold on that spot.

"Yes, he's certainly a candidate for that," Ferentz pointed out after the scrimmage on Saturday.


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