Kicking, Punting Could Be A Strength In 2015

STILLWATER – It is far from being written in stone as fall camp is just underway but there are major changes for Oklahoma State in special teams. Most of the discussion in the media the past few days has dealt with the return game, punt return in particular. However, fans will notice a change in the kicker and punter.

Cowboys fans knew the punter would be new as the guy running in to boot the ball away on fourth downs and to kickoff, Kip Smith, graduated, but the guy kicking field goals and extra points is the same.

Not really. Ben Grogan admits he feels like a new man and even though he was consistent and hit 22-of-28 field goals and all 41 of his PAT attempts last season he will tell you it was anything but smooth. The junior was dealing with a torn labrum in his kicking hip and he kicked all season in pain. Tough guy that Grogan.

"He's healthy and people don't realize how big a deal that injury was and he never made an excuse and as a coach you appreciate that," special teams coordinator Robbie Discher said. "He's strong and now he may be strong enough to kickoff for us."

After seeing the new and improved Grogan after off-season surgery kick the first couple of days of fall camp, I would agree. Grogan is getting better distance, better height and quicker height than he was a year ago. He also has a smoother leg swing and he is taking the ball back to midfield in his warm-up kicks before practice.

Punting was a huge question and it looks after the first two days that Zach "Arnold Schwarzenegger" Sinor will be the answer. Kiddingly, Sinor has put on muscle and not just in his lower body as he is sporting pretty decent biceps for a punter.

"I told him he'd look good with those. You like what we've done with him," joked strength and conditioning coach Gary Calcagno.

"I feel good, I just need to get more consistent," Sinor said. "My drop needs to be more consistent."

The redshirt freshman from Medina Valley High School in Texas is listed at 5-11, 195 pounds but I would put him at closer to 205 pounds with those guns on his arms.

That said, Sinor is kicking the heck out of the football. He has routinely been punting the ball 45 to 50 yards with good hang time.

Discher seems pleased, but he's a coach and three days might be a good start but it is hardly enough to convince him the season will be a breeze for his specialist and in turn for his special teams. Besides, there still that question about who is going to return punts.


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