Monroe 12th Nationally in Punting, 44.7 avg.

University of Miami punter Brian Monroe is not surprised that he is leading the ACC in punting through the first six weeks of the season.



What Monroe is surprised about is how long it took him to lead the league in punting average.

"It is a good feeling to lead the league in punting," Monroe said. "I have waited four years for this. I think that is a little ridiculous that it didn't happen sooner in my career. I am a senior and this is what the coaches expect of me. I don't think it is a shocker to them. They knew what my potential is."

Monroe currently leads the ACC in punting with an average of 44.7 yards per punt. Last season, Monroe averaged just 39 yards per punt.

"I am trying to get good hang time and average about 45 yard with every kick so I can get a fair catch every game," Monroe said.

Versus North Carolina, Monroe booted a 74-yard punt—besting his previous career long of a 67-yard punt. Monroe described what hitting the perfect punt feels like.

"In golf when you hit a good drive it doesn't feel like you hit it hard, the ball just takes off," Monroe said. "It is the same thing with punting. When you punt the ball and it doesn't feel like anything you know it is a good kick."

Prior to the 2006 season, Monroe and the coaches toyed with the idea of the punter possibly playing receiver. During the spring and pre-season practices, Monroe practiced significant reps with the receivers.

Monroe, however, says he is no longer working with the receivers. He has not been practicing with the receiving unit since the FAMU game. Monroe felt like he could help the team more by concentrating on his kicking.

"I had my shot," Monroe said of playing receiver. "I feel like I was able to play with our receivers, but I haven't played receiver my whole life, so I don't know little things about the receiver position that you would need to know to be successful."

"Playing receiver helped because it made me focus on what I was doing," Monroe said. "I would have to go play receiver and then work on punting, then back to receiver. Once you start to think too much about kicking, that is when you mess up. A good kicker needs to clear his head and go out there and do it. Playing receiver helped to clear my head."

Despite 2006 being Monroe's best season at UM, the punter still feels like he has areas to improve—specifically his consistency in kickoffs and punting.

"I feel like I have not had a complete game yet. I am still not hitting all of my punts and kickoffs right with each kick," Monroe said.

David Lake can be reached at lake@canestime.com

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