Kick Scrimmage Notebook

Three years ago, Mike Nugent made his mark in the spring kick scrimmage... and the rest as they say is history. On Thursday, the 2005 Buckeyes held their kick scrimmage. We have comments from Josh Huston, Ryan Pretorius and A.J. Trapasso.

Ohio State held its twice-annual special teams scrimmage Thursday in Ohio Stadium and the Scarlet emerged with a 45-38 victory.

Kicker Josh Huston had a strong day, going 8 of 9 on field goals, including a long of 51 yards. Huston had two kicks blocked – one field goal and one extra point.

"Felt good out there with the snap and the hold and everything," Huston said. "Felt pretty comfortable. Hit my first few balls really well. Coming towards the open end, I didn't hit them as well, but they were still straight, so that's always a good sign. I think we made a lot of progress today as the snap, hold, kick unit.

"In my mind, I made everything. I think they got in on the two blocks. We don't have the whole unit out there and I think they got good pressure on those. I still have to watch film. There's a few kicks – like the 50-yarder – I didn't hit it as well. I mean, it still made it, it's still a 50-yarder, I just didn't hit it well. But overall, with the amount of pressure I had coming at me, I felt I hit the ball pretty well."

With the graduation of All-American Mike Nugent, the job appears to be Huston's to lose. Well, if the NCAA grants him a sixth year of eligibility.

"It's just a lot of excitement," Huston said. "It's not there yet – the sixth year is not for sure yet – but I'm really excited. It was the first time I was out there where I wasn't a little nervous, or a little anxious. I just felt so comfortable and ready to do it. So, can't wait for the season."

Huston is hoping for a decision from the NCAA soon.

"I'm going to go talk to compliance (Friday) and see what they have to say – if they have any word, or when they're going to know. You guys will probably know before me."

Huston says confidence has never been a problem for him.

"In my mind, I've always known I could do it," he said. "Last spring I did well, and last fall in the kick scrimmage I did well. So, in my mind I was always there and just waiting for my turn."

Overall, Huston said it was not the best special scrimmage he's participated in. "Personally, I think it was a pretty sloppy one," he said. "I've been here for a few years and this one was kind of sloppy, but I think we got some things figured out. What person can do what. I think we got a lot out of it."

Huston admits it was not easy sitting behind Nugent for three years.

"It's been rough," he said. "You start asking yourself, ‘What do you want to do? What are your goals?' I decided to stick it out and work really hard and hopefully get my shot."

Huston says following Nugent as OSU's kicker does not add any extra pressure.

"Well, we're at Ohio State, so, when you're in front of 100,000 people, you're going to have pressure, no matter if Mike Nugent was kicker before you, or whoever," Huston said. "Actually, I think Mike has helped because you have such a high standard that if you miss that one kick, you feel like, ‘Man, you can't do that.' I think he set such a high standard that it only helps."

* Freshman kicker Ryan Pretorius was 4 for 5 on field goals during the kick scrimmage with a long of 44 yards.

He is not ready to concede the job to Huston.

"I believe I've got what it takes to win the job," Pretorius said. "It's just basically up to (head coach Jim) Tressel. I don't know if he's going to go for experience. I know Josh shared with Nugent his freshman season. I don't know what he's looking for, but in terms of accuracy so far, I know I'm ahead.

"Josh has a slightly stronger leg – he hits a great looking ball. And (Jonathan Skeete is) coming in leaps and bounds too and he's hitting a great ball too. So, it's a nice competition among all of us."

It's rare that a college football team would have three competent kickers.

"Exactly," Pretorius said. "Jon and I are both freshmen and Josh is a senior and is trying to get his sixth year. He hasn't gotten it yet, there's been some speculation on that, but hopefully he will because it would be great to have him on the team and it keeps the competition alive. Josh is a good guy and it's a healthy competition for the whole team."

Pretorius, 25, was born in Zimbabwe and grew up in South Africa.

"I lived there since I was 3, so I call myself South African," he said.

Former NFL kicker Gary Anderson is from the same area of South Africa as Pretorius.

"I spoke to Gary once I got out here and he pointed me in the right direction," Pretorius said. "He kind of said, ‘If you want to make it big time, you've got to go a big college.' Luckily I had some friends and family in the Columbus area. That's why I came here and I'm so happy to be here."

Pretorius, who played soccer and rugby growing up, has some specific goals for this season.

"My goals are to win a starting job and get a scholarship," he said.

* Skeete was 6 of 11 in field goals with a long of 42.

* Freshman A.J. Trapasso is the odds-on favorite to win the punting job and he fared pretty well during the special teams scrimmage.

"I felt good," Trapasso said. "I did OK. Just getting all the chinks out today. I shanked one early and I'm not real sure (about exact statistics). I'm hoping just around 40 yards and a four second hang time."

Trapasso was asked if he won the job with his performance.

"I hope so," he said. "I did well and (Tyson) Gentry did well. I think I might have edged him out, especially towards the end there. But nothing against him. He did well today. "I like competing. I'm here to compete. Gentry gives me my money's worth. He's a great punter."

Trapasso says he has a lot more confidence this year.

"Last year, there was a lot of pressure coming right out of high school," he said. "I had a shot, but this year it's mine to lose and I'm going to do everything I can to win it."

With the ball snapped from inside the one-yard line, Trapasso uncorked a 55-yarder to end the scrimmage.

"I had Bobby (Carpenter) and A.J. (Hawk) in my face like, ‘Just get it off.' We didn't want to have to walk back to the Woody Hayes. I was just trying to put a foot on it," Trapasso said.

Trapasso says the redshirt year helped him.

"I think it's been a beneficial thing," he said. "You know, the things that have happened in the past, I'm trying to move on and grow up a little bit. Become the person that is going to get the job done here."

He rushed for over 1,000 yards as a senior tailback in high school, and had a long run of over 50 yards on a fake punt in Thursday's scrimmage.

"I'm here to punt, but if they need me to do anything else I'll step up and do it," Trapasso said of possibly taking snaps at tailback.

But like he said, he knows his main job is to keep OSU has one of the best punting teams in the country.

"We've led the Big Ten in net punting the last three or four years and I'm going to do my best to keep that streak," he said.

Trapasso says there is one area of his game that needs the most improvement. "My steps towards the ball," he said. "Sometimes I'm a little long, sometimes I'm crossing over. Steps are an important thing. Everything else is pretty good right now. … My get off times can always be faster, but when we were in tight punt I think they were pretty good and that's the most important play."


* Ashton Youboty scored two touchdowns – one on a long return on a blocked field goal, and a short return off a blocked punt.

* Ted Ginn Jr. only had two returns and did not have big returns in either of them.

* With the score tied 38-38, Joel Penton blocked a punt and Brandon Mitchell recovered the ball in the end zone for the winning points.

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