Spring Football: Questions & Answers (Part 3)

Special teams weren't under a lot of pressure in the Orange-White Game on Saturday as there were only two kickoffs (one to start each half); token pressure on punts, field goals and extra points; and all punts had to be fair caught by the returners.

The Cowboy coaching staff would have allowed the kickoffs to be returned, but both Jason Ricks for the White (on the opening kickoff) and Matt Fodge for the Orange (to open the second half) put the ball either too deep or out of the end zone for touchbacks.

To be fair to each kicker, Zach Allen as the snapper and Cole Reynolds as the holder were used on all field goals and extra points. Ricks hit both his field goals from 27 and 38 yards and they were solid. Redden was perfect on five extra points and hit his lone field goal try from 26 yards.

Fodge was solid on punts with two kicks for an average of 40.5 yards, while Reynolds had a long of 59 yards and a short of 37 yards for an average on seven punts of 45.3 yards.

As for the spring overall, here's the questions answered and unanswered.

Who will be the kicker? – Unanswered
This may be unanswered, but there really is no wrong answer. Last year walk-on Bruce Redden stepped in when Jason Ricks suffered a preseason hamstring injury that he later re-aggravated. Redden finished the season hitting 11-of-14 field goals and 23-of-24 extra points. He also kicked off part of the season and was solid in every aspect. Ricks is back healthy and most of the time has his mechanics going well, although they have come off line a few times. As a freshman in the 2004 season Ricks hit 11-of-16 field goals and 47-of-49 extra points. Both kickers have strong legs. Mike Gundy has suggested the duo will push each other all summer and compete into August. Associate head coach and special teams coordinator Joe DeForest knows that one could kick placements and the other could kick off.

Is Fodge Going to be Improved at Punter? – Answered
Matt Fodge will be the guy, but Cowboy fans can thank Cole Reynolds and will likely still thank him in the fall and may someday appreciate his punting ability in a game. Fodge is solid and has improved his distance in part because he is pushed nearly every day by Reynolds, who has a booming foot. Fodge is still more consistent. The bonus is Reynolds will be on road trips this fall to provide backup as he is going to hold on field goals and extra points.

How will the Deep Snapper Chores be Handled? – Answered
Zach Allen has solidified himself as the snap specialist on field goals and extra points, a job he performed without error as a freshman last season. Allen and Kyle Mariacher have been battling for the job of snapping punts. Both have proven they can handle it as the Cowboys go back to the more conventional tight punt formation. Allen has shown more accuracy in that role while Mariacher has a little more speed on his snap. That role will be decided in August.


10 Bruce Redden, 5-9, 185, Sr., Woodward/Northern Okla. J.C., Okla.
85 Jason Ricks, 6-1, 190, So., Round Rock, Tex.
18 Matt Fodge, 6-0, 180, So., Garland, Tex.
38 Cole Reynolds, 6-3, 215, RS Fr., Edmond (Memorial), Okla.
55 Zach Allen, 6-1, 260, So., Edmond (Memorial), Okla.
58 Kyle Mariacher, 6-3, 225, Jr., Elma (Iriquois)/Erie C.C., NY
38 Cole Reynolds, 6-3, 215, RS Fr., Edmond (Memorial), Okla.
7 Mike Friess, 6-2, 215, Jr., Wichita (Bishop Carroll), Kan.

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