Coming into the season, SMU kicker Matt Szymanski knew he had tough shoes to follow. The junior was not only replacing the best kicker in SMU history, but someone good enough for the NFL. It was a role that Szymanski with open arms.
"I felt like I had a pretty solid season. Of course there is always room for improvement, but that will come. All around though, I felt like it went pretty well," stated the kicker to PonyStampede.com.
Szymanski finished the season 10/15 on field goals, with three of the five misses beyond 50 yards. He also booted 41/42 on extra points. But, it was his punting that possibly the biggest factor for SMU. His 41.7 net average was good enough to be in the Top 35 in college football.
Unlike many college kickers, Szymanski always seems to be doing something at practice. He is never one to be watching practice.
"The thing that always helps me simulate is always staying warm on the sidelines. I try to keep my legs and arms warm when I'm there," said the junior. "Then kicking the ball in this cold weather is going to feel about the same."
Szymanski lately has dealt with cold winter temperatures at practice, a kickers worst enemy. Far from the 70 degree temperatures the junior will benefit from in Hawaii.
"The ball definitely gets a little stiffer and hardens up a bit. Its a little more dense, where compared to warm weather, the ball is flying," said Szymanski. "You don't really have to kick the ball differently, but if you want the same distance, you do have to kick it lower and more of a line drive."
December 19th can't get here fast enough for this kicker.