Bondi's doing his own thing

Nebraska redshirt sophomore Mauro Bondi knows the spring evaluation will be an important one for him.

LINCOLN, Neb. - It's one of the toughest things for a college athlete to go through. After contributing to the team in 2011 on kickoffs as a freshman, Nebraska sophomore kicker Mauro Bondi was asked to redshirt in 2012. The coaching staff was confident All-Big Ten talent Brett Maher could handle all three phases of special teams and not be worn.

"Ultimately it was their decision. Whatever was best for the team, they wanted to have me around for three more seasons," said Bondi. " It was definitely hard sitting on the sidelines this year. You want to help your team, but you are stuck there..I wasn't originally supposed to redshirt. I came in and played a couple games, it's sort of a weird situation. But I have to make the best of it."

Despite redshirting, Bondi's approach didn't change in 2012.

"As a second string you always prepare yourself like you are going to play, so nothing really is different," said Bondi. "You have realize you are one injury or one situation away from being called upon...last year was really good also because of the competition standpoint in practices. I really tried to compete with Brett."

Following an All-American is never easy, but Bondi will actually attempt to follow back-to-back All-Americans in Maher and Alex Henery.

"There is a little pressure there, but I'm going to try to start my own thing and continue the tradition," said Bondi. "I see Maher and talk with him every couple of days. He just tells me to keep my head up and not listen to anyone on the outside – you have to stay focused."

Bondi is currently working all three areas on special teams, but admits placekicking is his favorite. At punter, he's battling for time with Nebraska walk-on wide receiver Sam Foltz, from Grand Island. The fall will also feature the addition of Western Illinois transfer Pat Smith, who will compete for all three spots as well.

"I'm going to go out there and work all three. If someone better comes along, than that's not a problem. But I do like kicking field goals and kickoffs right now. Punting is sort of a secondary thing right now to me," said Bondi. "The opportunity to score points and help the team out is nice. Punting is fun, it's a difficult job when it comes to field position and stuff. They are both good, but field goal I like a lot.

"It's a big spring for me because of the evaluation process...they have to play me now (laughter). It's nice knowing that I have to play now. The redshirt is over, gone, and now I have three years a head of me."

As a senior in high school, Bondi connected on 7-of-11 field goals with a long of 44 yards for West Boca Raton (FL). He was the nation's No. 10 prospect at his position according to

*** Pat Howard contributed to this story ***

Josh Harvey has covered college football and recruiting for Fox Sports & since 2008. He is now the Publisher of Big Red Report, covering Nebraska athletics.
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