Shene gains confidence from Auburn game

Icing the kicker is a common practice, but opponents might not want to attempt it with Josh Shene. He benefits from the extra time.

Struggling with consistency and health this season, Shene has been waiting on a kick to give him confidence. Hopefully for the Rebels, that happened against Auburn.

The sophomore knocked home a 41-yard effort to end the first half, but neither team ran off the field. That is when Shene thought the Tigers called timeout.

"I was expecting a timeout and thought that was what it was at first," Shene said. "And then the penalty on No. 89, who isn't even on our field goal team. I guess most guys will think about messing it up, but it settles me. Not thinking about what could go wrong. Instead, it gives me something to build on and time to not be rushed."

The call was actually on No. 89 David Traxler, but the infraction didn't waver the kicker. He lined back up and sent the next one from 51 yards into almost the same spot of the south end zone seats.

"It (penalty) actually made me a little more confident," Shene said. "I knew if I could do it from 41, then the extra 10 yards weren't going to make much of a difference. I think it helped me a lot with my overall confidence. I was really hoping for a kick opportunity like that against Auburn."

Shene has been serviceable this season with connections on nine of his 14 attempts, but the expectations have been even higher for the Oklahoma native that was named a freshman all-American in 2006. That year, he hit 14-of-17 and erased an assortment of kicking woes that were exhibited during Ed Orgeron's first season in Oxford.

While pressure is one thing this time, Shene has also had a groin injury that limited his effectiveness on kickoffs and caused him to have technical flaws during field goal tries. The Arkansas game was the first time all season that Shene didn't wear a wrap for his groin.

Even so, Shene leads Ole Miss with 41 points scored. However, he has missed an extra point and three kicks inside 40 yards.

"It still does hurt because you have to kick the ball a lot harder on kickoffs," Shene said. "It is a week-to-week thing based on the other team's return unit. So, that still bothers me, but field goals are fine. Auburn pregame was the best I have felt this year."

According to special teams coordinator Chris Rippon, Shene has struggled because of overcompensating for the painful groin. The kicker missed a 35-yarder against Alabama that Rippon says he knew was going to be wide as soon as Shene took his steps back to kick.

"You could just tell by his setup," Rippon said. "He needed to concentrate on the things he could control and not worry about anything else. It (against Auburn) is a big kick for him because he overcame a couple demons. He got past technique problems and the ability to come up big in a pressure situation.

"Hopefully, he is on the upswing and will be a success like we know he can be."

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