Heading into the 2006 football season, there was an uncertainty about the placekicking situation at Ole Miss due to inconsistencies in 2005.
Enter Josh Shene, who was signed by the Rebel staff at the "midnight hour" on Signing Day 2006 out of Oklahoma City, OK.
After a close battle with Justin Sparks the entire August camp, Shene got the starting nod and responded with an excellent year that included a high percentage of field goals made, perfection on PATs and a couple of clutch kicks in hostile arenas.
Now Josh prepares for his second season. While he was pleased with his efforts as a true freshman, he's not the kind to get satisfied.
"There are a lot of things I can do to improve," said Shene, who was 14-17 (82.4%) in field goals and 20-20 on PATs. "The biggest thing I've done is try to get stronger.
"There were a couple of kicks last year I could have done better, so I'll keep working my techniques to make sure I don't duplicate those."
About midway through the season, he says, the freshman jitters weren't as noticeable.
"I think I am over the hump in terms of the mental aspects of kicking in games and worrying about the pressure," he continued. "Toward the end of the season, I was a lot more confident and less nervous than the beginning. For right now, I'm over the nervous part of it."
Josh said he feels a lot stronger now than when he first reported. He certainly looks stronger.
"I've worked on my core strength and leg strength and overall body strength. I hurt my lower back before so I try to keep my core as strong as possible so I don't injure my back again," Shene explained.
Looking at Shene, it's apparent he's been diligent in the weight room. He's added 10 pounds of good weight and virtually no body fat.
"I was 166 pounds when I reported last year. I'm 176 now and I feel a lot stronger," he continued. "That should translate into more distance on my kicks."
Shene said he does not know if he's a candidate to replace kickoff specialist Will Moseley, who graduated after last season.
"I'm sure I will be, but nobody has told me that yet," he said. "You know college kickoffs will be from the 30 this year. I'm sure I will give it a try. I really don't know where I can put it consistently because I haven't kicked off since high school, but I'm willing to give it a try."
Shene said his transition to the college game, academics and the South have gone well.
"I was fortunate enough to produce on the field and I adjusted after a tough start in the classroom. I'm doing well academically now. The South is really not that much different from Oklahoma, so that has gone well," he explained.
Shene believes he has a built-in advantage this spring by having his snapper - sophomore Preston Powers - and holder - junior Rob Park, back for the 2007 season.
"We've been working together now through the whole season and we work on our own in the offseason. We feel like we have good chemistry there and know each other and trust each other. Our timing is good," he added. "That's critical to my job, to know the snap and the hold are going to be there. Preston and Rob are really good at their jobs. That's one less worry for a placekicker."
There was a huge concern going into 2006 about the placekicking. Josh Shene helped earse that concern.
In his mind, he should only get better.
Josh Shene update
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