Spring Football - Specialists


We’re nearing the end of our look at the Badgers roster breakdowns and there’s no way we can forget the Specialists, right?  As Badger fans we’ve been spoiled rotten over the past 10 years or so to have mostly great to very good kickers and punters but entering 2012 both positions are going to be manned by new players.  

Add to it that the Badgers will be breaking in a new long snapper and you have an area that will be just as important as the Quarterback battle taking place in camp.  Wisconsin will also be working without a full time special teams guy but are expected to have most of the duties handled by Ben Strickland who is on the staff as the Secondary Coach.  

So, who’s going to be the kicker and who will be the punter?  Let’s take a look as one should be a bit familiar to you and one you’ve probably never seen before.  


K - Kyle French - RS So. - 6’1″ 193lbs. 

French and Alec Lerner battled and got a lot of work in Fall camp last year as Phillip Welch was sidelined with an injured groin.  French won out for the most part and played in seven games in 2011.  He went 3-5 on field goals with his long only being 29 yards.  He was 26-27 on PAT’s though so French got plenty of work in that category early on in the season.  

Questions this Spring: 

The biggest question is how accurate he is outside of the middle of the field.  He struggled to get angles right on some of his field goals and had a few close calls go his way.  French’s two misses came from 50 yards out and that should give you a bit of an indication of just how big of a leg he has.  Also a question mark is how he handles the pressure of not having anyone behind him really.  Jack Russell of Waunakee, WI will be coming on as a walk-on in the fall, but if French has a good spring he may have locked up the job already.  


P - Drew Meyer - RS Fr. - 6’2″ 182lbs. 

Meyer is an Arrowhead high school product but hasn’t seen action in either a spring game or a regular season game.  Keeping an eye on what can do is going to be huge because field position and getting hang time for his coverage unit are hugely important in being a successful punter at Wisconsin.  

Questions this Spring: 

Who is this guy?  Really, we don’t know much about him and we won’t find out much until that Spring game on April 28th where he’ll be punting under pressure and in front of a live Camp Randall crowd for the first time.  If he can handle the pressure and get some help from the coverage unit he can be just fine.  We’ve been very good at plucking talented punters from this state (Kevin Stemke and Ken DeBaushe come to mind), so there’s a track record of success with young punters as well.  Only time will really tell where he stands and if he can stand up to the competition they are bringing in come fall camp.


We’ve only got one more preview left in our look at the position groups, so look for our preview of the Tight End’s to come tomorrow!

Andrew Coppens

About Andrew Coppens

Andy is a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). He is the Managing Editor of MadTownBadger and associate editor of Bloguin's World Cup site, 32flags.com as well as Publisher of Big Ten site talking10.com