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August 15, 2011

Kickers are not proven, but possess the talent to keep tradition going

By: Jimmy Robertson

Perhaps no positions on Tech’s squad over the years have been as consistent as the kicking and punting spots, and head coach Frank Beamer hopes that trend continues.

Coming out of spring practice, Beamer told people that redshirt sophomore Cody Journell all but won the kicking job. Journell will become the first Tech kicker since Brandon Pace started in 2005 to start as a non-senior, snapping a trend that began with Pace in 2006 and continued with guys like Judson Dunlevy, Dustin Keys, Matt Waldron and Chris Hazley.

Journell has big shoes to fill as Hazley was a first-team All-ACC performer a year ago and made all but one of his field-goal attempts. In fact, he set a single-season record with 20 straight and made all six of his field-goal attempts beyond 40 yards. In short, Hazley had arguably the best season ever by a Tech kicker not named Chris Kinzer.

But Journell showed potential this spring. He made six of his nine field-goal attempts combined in scrimmages and in the Maroon-White game. His consistency enabled him to snag the job from Justin Myer.

Myer returns as Tech’s kickoff expert. Thirty of his 94 kickoffs last season went for touchbacks, and he has 52 touchbacks for his career.

Tech’s punting situation was unsettled following Brian Saunders’ departure after last season. Saunders, a second-team All-ACC member, averaged 44 yards per punt, and placed 18 of his 60 punts inside the 20.

Heading into the season, receiver Danny Coale leads in the battle to replace Saunders. He averaged a game-best 44 yards per punt on three punts in the Maroon-White game, while Ethan Keyserling averaged 43.5 yards per punt on two punts.

“If we stay inconsistent, I’m probably going to go with Danny Coale because he’s the guy you trust and the guy that’s been in the game,” Beamer said following the spring game.

Collin Carroll returns for the fourth straight season to handle the snapping duties. He delivered every snap on extra points, field goals and punts for the Hokies during the 2010 season and possesses the most experience, having played in 41 games entering the 2011 campaign.


Returning starters: Justin Myer (played in 40 games the past three seasons), Collin Carroll (snapped in every game the past three seasons)
Starters lost: Chris Hazley, Brian Saunders
Projected new starters: Cody Journell, Danny Coale
Top reserves: Myer, Tyler Weiss, Ethan Keyserling

Newcomer: Michael Branthover
Breakout candidate: Journell
Notes: Journell has only dressed in one game in his brief collegiate career – the Orange Bowl … Myer starts as the kickoff guy, but would be the backup to Journell as the field-goal/extra-point kicker … Myer was fourth in the country with 30 touchbacks a year ago … Myer surprisingly has 14 special teams tackles in his career … Branthover is a two-time All-Met selection by The Washington Post.

89 Cody Journell (5-11, 167, r-Soph.)
48 Justin Myer (6-1, 212, Sr.)
Tyler Weiss (5-10, 169, r-Sr.)

19 Danny Coale (6-0, 196, r-Sr.)
92 Ethan Keyserling (6-2, 203, r-Fr.)
Scott Demler (5-11, 194, r-Jr.)

50 Collin Carroll (6-3, 248, r-Sr.)