Spring Game Review: Special Teams

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Kickers

Mike Meyer earned a scholarship after handling the placekicking duties for the Hawkeyes last year. The starting spot is still an open competition though and both Meyer and Trent Mossbrucker are battling for it. During the practice, Mossbrucker ended up being the more accurate kicker connected on 3/4 field goals from 36 yards and making both from 42. Meyer was just 4/7 on the day missing 1 from 36, 42, and 52.

However, I wouldn't be handing the job over to Mossbrucker just yet. His kicks were consistently very low and often just cleared the crossbar. He's had this problem in the past and it's what led to the blocked PAT that should have tied the game in the 4th quarter against Arizona last year. The line-drives may have helped in the windy conditions Saturday, but they won't be helpful when the opposition is going full out to try to block the kick.

Meyer's kicks looked much better, even though he missed 3 (none were off by much though the 52-yarder was quite a bit short). He appears to have the stronger leg than Mossbrucker, so I would bet he will at least be handling kick offs again.

An area of slight concern from practice was the snap for field goals. Iowa's long-snapper the past couple of season, Andrew Schulze, was a good one. I can only remember one bad snap in his 4 years. In practice on Saturday one snap was really low and Wienke (who's the holder) actually picked it up and looked to throw. Another snap was a little off and Wienke got it down in time but Meyer missed the field goal.


Hey look, Wienke can punt too!

Punter

This is the first time in quite a while that there have been any question marks at punter. Though Wienke handle some kicks over the weekend, I don't think he's realistically battling for the starting job. That battle is between Eric Guthrie and Jonny Mullings. Guthrie appeared to have the upper edge from a consistency standpoint. Into the wind he was getting about 45 yards per punt and with the wind he boomed a 55-yarder. He also had a nice kick during warm ups that dropped around the 2 yard line, bounced and then died there. He followed that up with a kick out the back of the end zone though.

Mullings may have a little bit bigger leg. He got off a couple of 50+ yard punts, but also shanked his last one of the day. I wouldn't read too much into it, but he was kicking the ball a whole lot less than Guthrie. Most of his practicing was around ball handling and placement. I'm not sure if he was trying to save his leg or what, but I expected a punter to actually punt the ball more than 4 times during practice.
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