"I was talking to my Dad the other day and we were discussing how it seemed like it was just the other day I was signing at Ole Miss and now it's almost over," said senior Placekicker Josh Shene. "I have one semester left after this one before I graduate and one more football season.
"Will Moseley was a senior when I got here and he told me how fast it would go by, but I didn't believe him. He was right. It has flown by. It's ridiculous, really."
Shene intends to make the most of his remaining time as a Rebel.
Recapping, Josh had an outstanding freshman season in 2006 but his production fell below his standards, due mostly to injury, in 2007.
In 2008, he rebounded with an excellent campaign as the Rebels exploding on the national scene at the end of the year and put up a 9-4 worksheet.
"I don't want to put the blame on anyone but myself, but injuries really hurt me in 2007. I was determined to come back with a good year last season and I was able to do that. I was able to help my team out more," Josh explained. "I worked hard and stayed healthy and a good year was the result.
"I took better care of myself and did a lot more stretching in 2008 and that helped a lot."
Shene, similar to the rest of the team's surge, was also the beneficiary of a different coaching staff.
"Our coaches now want us to kick daily, but they understand you can't kick for an hour-and-a-half and be productive. It's not going to happen," Josh stated. "They don't get upset if they don't see us kicking, which is both smart and nice.
"You can over kick, believe me. You just get worn out in your hip muscles and it gets to the point of diminishing returns. It's like over training. After a while, you aren't accomplishing anything, your production decreases. It's the same with kicking. With a dead leg, you can lose distance and accuracy. Coach (Houston) Nutt and Coach (James) Shibest understand that and that really helps all of us stay at a high level of performance."
Shene was exclusively a field goal/PAT guy last year but he'd like to expand his duties to kicking off his senior year.
"I would like to try doing some kicking off. I want a taste at the next level and in order to do that everyone tells me you have to be able to kickoff as well as placements," he added. "Coach Shibest wants to make sure I don't mess up my field goal kicking form, but I don't think I will. I just have to get my steps down for kicking off and I think it will work out."
Being a veteran, Josh is at a comfort level now where crucial kicks do not really bother him.
"I'm not relaxed to the point of being lackadaisical but I am relaxed to the point where I don't let external influences bother me," he continued. "I know if I don't perform I can be beaten out, but being relaxed is part of being effective for me.
"I try to tune everything out except what I have to do. The stuff going on around me does not seem to hinder me."
Shene has one major adjustment he is going to have to make in spring and summer. For three years, Rob Park has been his holder. Along with Deep Snapper Preston Powers, the kicking operation has been somewhat automatic. Now, Powers is back but Park is gone.
"Justin Sparks is working at holding now and so is WR Richie Contartesi. Justin is doing very well right now," Josh said. "I was extremely comfortable with Rob, but so far Justin has done well. I am anxious to see how he does in live work in spring, but I have confidence in him.
"It's a bigger adjustment than people think to get it right and holding is important. Justin has good hands. The difference right now is that Rob moved his hands away, except for on finger at the top of the ball, so all I could see was the ball. Justin's hands are more visible right now, but he's working on clearing that off hand away."
The timing of the snap-hold-kick is also a factor.
"With Preston, Rob and I, we were almost automatic between 1.25 seconds and 1.3 seconds," Shene said. "A good time is lower than 1.3, but you don't want to get too fast. You need to stay between 1.25 and 1.3, so we will be working on the timing of the kicks in spring real hard."
Josh also wants to take the opportunity as a senior to help the young kickers already on campus and the newcomers coming in, most notably PK Andrew Ritter and P Tyler Campbell.
"I'm not going to be too hard on them, but it will be my job to show them how to work and to show them our routine. Most kickers have never lifted weights before or worked real hard on their craft, but we work really hard to get it right here," he stated. "I just want to show them how it's done and what is expected and help them with their confidence.
"Bryson Rose was a freshmen last year and didn't know the ropes, but now he gets it and is working hard. I have met the two new kickers and I don't think that will be a problem, but they do have to learn."
Shene knows the expectations for the team are high for 2009, but he says there's a different feeling now than the expectations before last year.
"We have more internal expectations. Everyone sees and knows how good we can be. We are at a point now where we aren't going to accept losing like maybe we did in years prior," he explained. "We are much more confident and have a lot higher expectations for ourselves than in the past."
Josh Shene -
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