Turano Puts Best Foot Forward, Wins Punting Job

Former walk-on Kyle Turano, a product of nearby Worthington Kilbourne, will open the 2004 season as OSU's starting punter. We had a chance to talk with Turano, a transfer from Bowling Green, about his good showing in preseason camp and his thoughts on performing for the Buckeyes.

Kyle Turano will be living out his dream Saturday when Ohio State hosts Cincinnati (12:10 p.m., ESPN-Plus). The fifth-year senior from nearby Worthington Kilbourne -- by way of a transfer from Bowling Green -- will open the season as OSU's punter.

The 6-0, 205-pound Turano outdueled fellow senior Josh Huston during preseason camp to win the starting job.

The competition came down to a punt-off in Tuesday's practice.

"I think I did really good," Turano said. "I hit a 60-yarder. All of my get-off times were below two seconds. We had three pressure kicks to see who would start. I'm pretty sure I won. All of my get-offs were better and all of my punts were better."

The enormity of the situation probably had not set in yet for Turano, who will double as the holder.

"This is definitely a dream," he said. "I have dreamt about this since I was 6 years old. It is an honor and a privilege and I know it's a responsibility, too."

Many focused on Huston and incoming freshman A.J. Trapasso as the favorites to follow Ray Guy Award winner B.J. Sander as the starting punter.

"Most of the preseason depth charts, I wasn't even on them," he said. "But I knew if I gave it my best and gave 100 percent, I would get my chance. Now I want to make the most of that chance."

Turano understands he will be under the gun on Saturday. But he isn't getting uptight about it.

"I have no reason to be nervous," he said. "I have a great family that will support me and my teammates will support me as well. I'm sure an hour before the game I will settle in. I don't even realize I have a scholarship yet."

Turano was one of four senior walk-ons converted to scholarship status last week.

"That's great," he said. "I think my parents were real excited. They've been the ones paying for my school. I was kind of on their scholarship before. It feels good. I don't have that walk-on label on me any more."

When asked what was more important, having the scholarship or starting, Turano replied, "Probably being a starter. Just having a scholarship doesn't mean you're going to play. But when you're a starter, you're at a whole another level."

Turano enrolled at BGSU in 2000 and saw action in five games as a kicker. He then transferred to OSU, but has seen no game action previously for the Buckeyes.

OSU has had great punting the last two seasons with All-American Andy Groom in 2002 and Sander last year.

"Those are big shoes to fill," Turano said. "B.J. put 37 punts down inside the 20. He had a 43-yard average. He definitely raised the bar.

"Right now, I've been crushing the ball. I had two 60-yard punts and an 84-yarder as well in practice. My pooch punts have been great, too. I've been getting them down inside the 10.

"I also did well in the kick scrimmage. I had one bad punt, but I thought I had seven good ones. I had a 55-yarder in that. The big thing with me is the hang time right now. I am working on that."

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