Countdown To Spring: Replacing The Specialists

We continue our Countdown to Spring Football with a look at the kicker and punter positions. Redshirt freshman A.J. Trapasso may have the inside track at punter, while sixth year senior Josh Huston could be the answer at kicker.

Last Tuesday, we began our Countdown to Spring Football with the first of 10 pressing questions for Ohio State to answer this spring.

Spring drills open up Thursday with the Scarlet and Gray Game set for April 23 at Ohio Stadium.

Working backward from No. 10, we are up to the third pressing question leading into spring football.

* 3. Will OSU find serviceable replacements in the kicking game?

Jim Tressel is known far and wide for believing that the punt is the most important play in football. But his first four OSU teams have also been known for their reliance on the field goal.

That is why Tressel must be staying awake at night wondering what will happen in 2005 when the Buckeyes line up to attempt either a punt or a field goal.

OSU lost Lou Groza Award-winning kicker Mike Nugent to graduation. At the same time, former walk-on Kyle Turano, who earned the punting job last year, will also not be back. Turano was hopeful of receiving a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA.

The punting job will likely fall to redshirt freshman A.J. Trapasso. He looked good during warm-ups last season and showed a strong leg.

The situation at kicker is somewhat murky. Josh Huston has apparently been granted his wish for a sixth year of eligibility. Huston's only experience to date came in 2001, when he was a dismal 3 of 10 on field goals. Nugent won the job shortly thereafter and the rest was history.

If Huston's consistency issues continue, the Buckeyes could turn to redshirt freshman Jonathan Skeete or walk-on Ryan Pretorius, a 25-year-old native of South Africa.

Needless to say, the special teams scrimmage – a Tressel invention and just an overall fun day to be at the stadium – will be a must-see event.

Previous Installments

On Tuesday, we began this 10-part feature with the No. 10 pressing question for the spring:

10. Will several players "on the spot" deliver?

Click this link for a look at that installment including spring practice dates, the 2005 schedule and returning starters for OSU in 2005.

Countdown To Spring: Players on the Spot

On Wednesday, we had question No. 9: 9. Will Ted Ginn Jr. spend a great deal of his time at cornerback?

Countdown To Spring: Two-Way Ted?

On Thursday, we had question No. 8: 8. How will new assistant coach Paul Haynes fare in his debut with the Buckeyes?

Countdown To Spring: Welcome, Coach Haynes

On Friday, we had question No. 7: 7. How will OSU juggle the linebackers and will Mike D'Andrea be full-go?

Countdown To Spring: Juggling The LBs

On Saturday, we had question No. 6: 6. Will somebody step up at defensive end?

Countdown To Spring: Stepping Up At End

On Sunday, we had question No. 5: 5. Will the offensive line continue its progression and, as a result, will the running game come back any time soon?

Countdown To Spring: Putting It On The Line

On Monday, we had question No. 4: 4. Who is going to play running back for OSU in 2005?

Countdown To Spring: Who Will Play RB?

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