NITTANY NOTES: Kickin' It

With the loss of veteran kicker Kevin Kelly, the Nittany Lion coaching staff is in need of a replacement and looking to a variety of candidates to fill the role. Get the latest on the kicking and punting battles here in our exclusive Nittany Notes.

With the departure of Kevin Kelly, the Nittany Lions are looking to a variety of candidates to step in to manage kicking duties. "Kev was the guy for four years and I think you get to a point where you take that for granted. The key the coaches are looking for is consistency - accuracy, power and control are all vital, but the most important is consistency, so the coaches know what they are dealing with and where a kicker can excel from," an observer said.

KICKING

Collin Wagner: Wagner saw some spot action in four games this past season, hitting a 43-yard field goal against Syracuse and getting a shot at kickoffs against Illinois, only to boot one out-of-bounds. The miscue resulted in a quick replacement by Kelly.

"Wagner has the fast track to the [starting] job at this point," one observer said. He has shown a range of 50+ yards on field goals. "He's hit it out towards 52 (yards), but he needs to get more work in with the rush to get that consistent under pressure, but he's the man to beat," another observer explained.

David Soldner: Soldner has struggled with his range and consistency. "He's got good mechanics with his kick, but needs to work on his power," according to an observer.

Soldner's range tends to be "sporadic" and many observers feel he doesn't have the leg to manage kickoffs at this point.

Anthony Fera: In terms of power, "Fera has a leg." As one observer said, "He's got some impressive [leg] strength, but he needs to work on the live snap."

Fera is currently working with holders to get down the "timing and steps" of his kicks. "It's one thing to kick it off a tee, but getting through the progression of snap, hold, kick is something that comes with repetition. He'll be a heck of a kicker after he nails that down."

Scott Heyman: A freshman walk-on from Virginia, Heyman has "average leg strength" and "needs to work on his control," but is going through the learning process. "He's in the same boat as Fera," according to one observer. "It's just that Fera has the advantage of having a catapult for a leg."

PUNTING

Jeremy Boone: The All-Big Ten honoroable mention punter saw action in all 13 games last season, so it likely comes as no surprise that he is the observer-favorite to take over the position again this season. As one observer said, "Jeremy has a solid leg and has been consistent with his power and placement. He's been a weapon for the field position game, and I personally don't expect that to change."

Ryan Breen: The redshirt sophomore has "the ability to really blast the ball," but the experience and consistency of Boone is expected to serve as a challenge for Breen this off-season. "He just needs work and some experience," an observer explained. Breen saw limited action this past season in games like Michigan.

Anthony Fera: Fera also managed punting duties in high school and although there was early talk of him possibly getting a look as a punter, he has yet to see any significant time working at the position. "I don't think they need him there and see his future as a kicker," according to one observer.

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