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May 18, 2012

Kicking situation unsettled coming out of spring

By: Jimmy Robertson

Virginia Tech head football coach Frank Beamer coaches most of the Hokies’ special teams, and he gave a telling remark about the state of the kicking positions following the attempt of the Maroon-White game on April 21.

“I think a lot of our kicking team is still in high school,” Beamer said. “They’re getting ready to go to prom.”

The list of on-campus candidates at both punter and kicker include Ethan Keyserling, Michael Branthover and Conor Goulding. Coming out of spring practice, Keyserling held the lead on the kickoff job. Other than that, no candidates distinguished themselves at placekicker and punter coming out of spring.

“Keyserling has the stronger leg, and with the rule change to the 35 [kickoffs are now from the 35-yard line], he has a decent chance of getting it into the end zone,” Beamer said. “I think the other two could get it into the end zone, but we’ll probably do more directional kicking.”

Branthover punted some last year as a true freshman, averaging 36.6 yards per punt. But he wasn’t able to pull away and secure the nod at punter. In fact, Beamer mentioned that some walk-on prospects would get a close look in the fall.

“Punting, Keyserling has had some good days. Branthover had some good days. But consistency has been the issue with all those guys,” Beamer said. “We’ve got a couple of punters coming in here who I think will be good. We’ll see. We’ve got to be consistent.

“When we punt, we expect the ball in a certain part of the field, and we’re not able to consistently get it there. That messes with your coverage. But they’ve got the whole summer. All of them, at times, can take your breath away with how they kick. If they can just get consistent, we’d have a great kicker. We’ve got the whole summer to work on that.”

Cody Journell, suspended for the bowl game following an off-the-field incident, served as the placekicker last year. He remains a question mark for next fall pending the outcome of a court case May 10.

Joe St. Germain figures to take over the snapping duties, though he missed a lot of spring with a leg injury. Lukas Stump provides depth.



38 Michael Branthover (5-8, 187, Soph.)
14 Conor Goulding (5-9, 183, r-Soph.)


38 Michael Branthover (5-8, 187, Soph.)
29 Scott Demler (5-11, 201, r-Sr.)
47 Ethan Keyserling (6-2, 205, r-Soph.)
14 Conor Goulding (5-9, 183, r-Soph.)


65 Joe St. Germain (6-0, 216, r-Soph.)
51 Lukas Stump (5-11. 202, r-Soph.)