Last season, the Huskies’ kicking game was inconsistent, and many would argue that it was one of the team’s weaknesses. Flash forward to 2012, and you see a team that is vastly improved in both punting and kickoffs, and pretty solid in the field goal department as well. This season, Denton Kolodzinski has averaged 42.7 yards per punt, compared with a team average of 36.5 yards in 2011. The net punt yardage has also increased by more than 5 yards. Cole Samson has averaged 60.3 yards per kickoff through 3 games this year, compared with a team average of 52.2 yards last season. The net kickoff yardage has also seen an improvement, rising by over 6 yards per kick. And while the sample size is relatively small, the field goal percentage is up to 71.4%, compared to 68.4% in 2011. On Wednesday, Samson and Kolodzinski each spoke with Huskie Outsider about the progress they’ve made this year.
“We worked very hard in the off-season,” Cole Samson stated as one reason for the improved performance. “Denton and I helped each other out and remained positive.”
Thus far in 2012, the Huskies have had both kickers on the roster for each game, with Kolodzinski punting and Samson handling the placekicking duties. Denton sees this as part of the reason for the success the two kickers have enjoyed. “While you still get to practice both punting and placekicking, focusing most of your attention on one area helps. It’s similar to professional football; pro teams have a separate kicker for each duty.”
Experience may also be playing a role in the two kickers’ strong seasons as well, as Kolodzinski is now in his third year with the Dogs while Samson is in year two. “You feel more comfortable with the snappers,” Cole commented, “and we don’t have to worry about protection because you know it’s going to be there.”
Last week, the Huskies emerged with a hard fought 5 point victory over the UBC TBirds. Both Samson and Kolodzinski were solid in their duties throughout the game, playing a pivotal role in the victory. “It’s great that the team has confidence in the punter to get the ball inside the 10 yard line, or inside the 20,” Denton remarked.
Samson agrees that there is a newfound confidence in the Huskie kickers. “It feels good that the team trusts us to do our jobs, and we trust them to get us in good field position.”
Two weeks ago, against the Manitoba Bisons, Denton ran for 12 yards, and a first down, on a fake punt. He was jokingly asked if that display of running has him considering going out for the track team this winter. “Maybe if I get in a little better shape I’ll think about it,” he replied with a laugh.
Samson and Kolodzinski will be relied upon again, tomorrow night, in what should be a good, close battle with the Regina Rams. Keep returning to Huskie Outsider for coverage leading up to the game.
**Program alert: The Outsider TV pre-game show will be broadcasting live, tomorrow, from the alumni patio of the Graham Huskie clubhouse. The show will begin at 5:45 pm, and run until about 6:20 pm. Visit www.HuskieOutsider.com to watch the program.