Among the positions that the Arizona Wildcats have pretty much locked down heading into 2015 are both kicker and punter. Drew Riggleman was one of the best punters in the country last year, and Casey Skowron did not miss an extra point in 2014.
So what happens when there's only two players at each position during fall camp?
"They've got 21 periods to work on their craft, and other than kicking, what do they do?," Rich Rodriguez said. "We don't allow 'em to go over there and shoot pool or anything, they gotta work on something. Maybe they dream about last second field goals and a fake field goal every once in a while or something, and relive that. Casey's probably in period four reliving his glory moment against Washington."
"I would if I was him."
"I mean, when I go back in the facility after practice and it's on TV, then yeah I relive it a little bit," Skowron joked. "But the thing about kicking is that each kick is its own kick. Its the same thing with gambling. The gambler's fallacy that the previous coin flips change the current one. In kicking, your previous kicks don't have anything to do with what's going on right now, so I really gotta find myself focusing on the future and put the past behind me and leave it as it was."
But the reality of the current situation of having just two kickers and two punters in camp has changed the way Skowron goes about his business during practice a little bit.
"We can't be taking as many reps, especially when we're doing things like kickoff," explained Skowron. "It's really tough on the legs, and it's just me and Josh (Pollack) rotating back and forth, we don't have that third guy to rotate in, so we really have to focus more on our recovery after practices, making sure we're taking care of our bodies, and making every rep count so we don't have to do extra."
One thing that set Casey apart from most kickers last year was his success on onside kicks, which led directly to the Cal win, and almost a win against USC. Here's a look at how he works on that during practice:
Casey Skowron onside kicking https://t.co/cXYIGB2ZGB— Jason Bartel (@jasonbartel) August 15, 2015
"The biggest thing on onside is getting the bounce," he said. "And obviously you gotta make sure it gets ten (yards). But we like to get that bounce just a few yards off the sideline. It's kind of gotten to the point where I have the same stroke over and over again, so I'm pretty consistent with it, moreso than I have been in the past."
With this step up in consistency, it's not like Skowron has to worry a ton about his job security heading into the season, which has him a little more relaxed than say, this time last year.
"As a standpoint from starting last year, it's a lot of preparing for the year," said Skowron. "There's a lot more confidence knowing that I've done it before, and the coaches know what I can do, so really just perfecting myself rather than worrying about what other guys are doing."
"We've been kicking field goals pretty good," coach Rodriguez added. "Casey's kickoffs have been really good all camp, but we gotta make sure they don't overkick themselves."
The kicker is probably one of those guys you don't notice until something bad happens, so let's hope that Casey just goes out there and is extremely consistent, and there's not a lot of noticing him, especially not in bad ways.