While an injury is usually the last thing on your mind as a punter, forgive sophomore Matt Hoenes if he had the idea running through his head.
After seeing senior Brock Harvey break his collarbone after he was blocked away from the play during a return against Colorado, Hoenes became the Tigers' only option. He filled in admirably against the Buffaloes, averaging 35 yards on two punts.
Knowing he was the starter going into the Baylor game Saturday helped, Hoenes said, allowing him to focus on the task at hand. His numbers did not bear out that mindset: Hoenes punted seven times, averaging 32.5 yards per punt, catapulting the Tigers near the bottom of the pack in net punting.
Hoenes remains confident in his abilities and is expecting more from himself when the Tigers visit Texas on Saturday. InsideMizzou spoke with Hoenes on Monday afternoon…
On if being the starter for the Baylor game helped him: "Mentally, it was a little easier knowing beforehand I was going to be the one going out there and kicking. Again, still not a lot of experience out there on that big field. Towards the end of the game, I started to settle down a little bit. At the beginning of the game, I was a little nervous, not realizing that I had more time than I thought I did. Towards the end of the game, I started to realize that and slow it down a little bit. And the kicks started getting better."
On his personal distance expectations: "Anywhere between 40 and 45 (yards), that'll work for us with some good hang time. Just to give us a chance for the defense and the coverage team to get down there. The field position for the defense is just huge in every game."
On how 32 yards per punt is a lot less than 40-45: "Yeah, it is. Like I said, at the beginning of the game I was having a little trouble settling down. Once I did, it really started to come off a lot better. Hopefully, knowing that, I'll carry it over to this game and pick it up where I left off at the end of the game."
On how being nervous affects punting: "When you get nervous, you start to rush a little bit. From the snap to the kick, that affects a lot of stuff. The main thing would be the drop: when you're trying to hurry, you don't always get the drop where you need it to be. That, in turn, creates a bad kick."
On the punting game being more important against Texas: "Yeah, this is a huge game. I'm starting to realize that I can't calm down a little bit. We don't look past anybody, including Baylor. We just have to go in with the mindset that we have to win."
On what he has to do against the Longhorns: "Texas has a very explosive offense. To create the field position needed for our defense is going to be huge on me. I kind of like the pressure to be able, hopefully, to show that I am capable of doing that."