Football preview: Special teams

3 comments by   |   Monday, August 18, 2008 - 6:48 pm EDT

Austin Starr Looms over you.

This is the first in a series of position-by-position previews for the IU football team that will run Monday-Thursday this week and next week. The running order will be in the order we’ve ranked the units, starting with the most solid and leading up to the group we think has the most questions heading into the season.

PROJECTED STARTERS: kicker Austin Starr, 6-3, 204, Sr.; punter Chris Hagerup, 6-5, 207, Fr.; kickoff returner Marcus Thigpen, 5-9, 199, Sr.; punt returner Ray Fisher 5-9, 172, Jr.

STARTERS LOST: punter Michael Hines, returners Tracy Porter and James Bailey

KEY RESERVES: kickoff returner Demetrius McCray, punt returner Nick Polk

2007 REVIEW: Special teams were a major strength for the Hoosiers. Starr led the way with one of the best seasons an Indiana kicker has ever put together. He hit 21-of-23 field goal attempts and all 48 extra point attempts. His season highlights included hitting four field goals against Minnesota and nailing the game-winning 49-yarder against Purdue that sent the Hoosiers to a bowl game. Starr was a second-team All-American and a first-team all-Big Ten pick.

Indiana ranked second in the conference in punt returns (12.0 avg.) and fifth in punt returns (21.0 avg.). One area where the Hoosiers could use improvement is kickoff coverage where they finished seventh in the Big Ten.

2008 OUTLOOK: This should be again be a strong point. Experienced players are back at the key positions with the exception of Hines. Punting is obviously the question mark. After struggling during the spring, Hagerup, a redshirt freshman, has been much better in preseason camp. He has plenty of leg, but needs to avoid the occasional shank he has shown at times in practice.

STATS THAT MATTER: During Big Ten play last season, Indiana finished first or second in the league in kickoff return average, punt return average, field goal percentage and extra point percentage.

DID YOU KNOW? As a sophomore, Thigpen led the country with a 30.1 kickoff return average.

TUESDAY: Defensive line

Q&A with Austin Starr

What’s your major and how did you pick it? My major is biology. I’m going to get a minor in chemistry. I chose it because in order to go to dental school most of the classes you have to take are biology classes. I just picked biology as a major because I was going to take that many classes anyway.

What’s your best class at IU so far? The best class was sports psychology because it allowed me to understand the psychological aspect of athletes. I’d say a close second would be when I took a media relations class and that helped me to understand that you don’t have to answer whatever question comes at you, even though my first inclination is that normally I just say the first thing that comes to mind.

What’s your favorite place to eat in Bloomington and why? Malibu Grill because they have the Hawaiian Ribeye. That was the first thing I had when I went there and I try to get it almost every time.

Explain your gameday ritual. Any superstitions? No superstitions, I just have this little prayer card that I say in the hotel room the night before and then before the game, and then I have coach Hep’s picture in my locker. I take it on the road, too, and I look at it before each game.

What’s one thing you want to do better this year than last year? I want to make every field goal and I want every kickoff to go in the end zone. I’d like a longer field goal, too.

Share the Scoop!

Related content: Read more in Football
 
Chris Green commits to Toledo
Sudfeld, IU offense see more balance in the future
Hoosiers shut out of Big Ten weekly awards
Where the Hoosiers stand on the national leaderboards
Hoosiers heading into an early bye
3 comments:
#1
Jimmy
Monday, August 18, 2008 - 8:20 PM EDT

Good stuff.

Also, any stadium construction photos or updates?

 
#2 Monday, August 18, 2008 - 10:05 PM EDT

I don’t really have an update, but we’re supposed to have a construction photo or two that were taken this afternoon on the front page of The Herald-Times tomorrow and on HTO. I’m at home and haven’t seen those photos yet, but since you asked I’ll post them here tomorrow.

 
#3
Jimmy
Monday, August 18, 2008 - 11:00 PM EDT

Thanks.

 


RSS feed

Comments

Facebook

Twitter

YouTube

Today @ HoosiersHQ.com

Recent comments on The Scoop



  • Field Hockey. Heilman Named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week - Senior Audra Heilman was named the Big Ten Field Hockey Offensive Player of the Week, the conference announced today. This is the third time the senior has received this
  • M. Soccer. Webb Named B1G Defensive Player of the Week - Indiana University sophomore goalkeeper Colin Webb was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week, the conference office announced
  • Oladipo declares for the NBA - Indiana junior Victor Oladipo this afternoon announced he will be going to the NBA. IU coach Tom Crean
  • Video: Victor Oladipo headed to NBA - Earlier this afternoon Indiana junior Victor Oladipo joined head coach Tom Crean at Assembly Hall to
  • Juwan Morgan moves up official visit to Indiana -

    Class of 2015 Waynesville (Mo.) forward Juwan Morgan, who had been scheduled to take an official visit to Bloomington later this month, has moved his visit up to this weekend.

  • A closer look at Indiana’s non-conference schedule -

    In case you missed it, Indiana announced its entire 2014-2015 schedule on Friday evening, including its 13-game non-conference slate. Now that we know each opponent, here’s a

  • VIDEO: Emmitt Holt talks joining Indiana - Emmitt Holt, a late signee for Indiana in the 2014 class, talks about joining IU in this
  • Juwan Morgan moves up official visit to IU - 2015 forward Juwan Morgan has moved up his official visit to Indiana to this weekend. Read more
  • Juwan Morgan Reconfigures His Visit Schedule
  • B1G Bowl Projections: These Are All Wrong Edition