Swedenburg Talks MSU Kicking Game

Mississippi State junior punter Baker Swedenburg talks about this year's kicking game and what he has seen from the young guys.

  • Name: Baker Swedenburg
  • Classification: Junior
  • Position: Punter
  • HT-WT: 6-foot-0, 185

  • Swedenburg had an impressive season during 2011, averaging a net of 37.9 yards per punt, which was sixth in the SEC. But he's looking for an even better year in 2012.

    "I look at last season and it was a good season but I'm not satisfied," said the fourth-year junior. "I want to be more consistent than last year and more mentally ready. The main thing is to be more consistent."

    While the punting aspect of the overall kicking game was solid last season, the kickoff portion of the kicking game wasn't quite as solid, ranking 10th in the final SEC stats in kickoff coverage and 9th in touchbacks. But Swedenburg sees a lot of potential for improvement in that aspect of the Mississippi State kicking game, thanks to a couple of true freshmen, kickers Devon Bell (also a punter) and Evan Sobiesk, and a new kickoff rule.

    "So far, I have been impressed (with the young guys)," he said. "They are adjusting well. They are doing a lot better than I expected they would. They are stepping up in the team portion of the practice and really performing. So far, on field goals they have been neck and neck and really accurate."

    As for the new kickoff rule, teams will be kicking off from the 35-yard line this season. Last season, it was from the 30-yard line.

    "Overall, I think the rule will help us," said Swedenburg. "It will be really interesting this year to see what we can do as far as kicking it out of the endzone or hang it up and try to put it on the goal line."

    With so many young guys among the punters and kickers, Swedenburg has seen his role evolved into more of a leadership role.

    "I like to help them with more of the mental aspect of the game," he said. "Obviously, they have the talent or they wouldn't be here. I tell them to relax and do the things that got them here."

    Swedenburg and his teammates begin their season this Saturday night at home against Jackson State with a start time of 6 pm.

    Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

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