Aug. 18, 2006
ATHENS, Ohio - The Bobcat football team continued its preparation for the season opener on Saturday, Sept. 2 versus Tennessee-Martin on Friday with practices 15 and 16.
Not often recognized, the long snapper is a crucial part of any speical teams unit. The Bobcats will have junior Ryan Senser (Westerville, Ohio) manning the position on both field goals and punts this season. Senser earned a letter in 2005 as the deep snapper on punts.
"People think it's just one of those spots that you take for granted, but when people actually try and do it, they realize it's a lot easier to watch than it is to do it," Senser said.
The other specialists rely on the snapper in order to their jobs. The kickers and punters can't perform their duties unless the long snapper does his.
"I'm with them (the kickers) a lot," Senser said. "They know that I work hard and get my snaps in. They know the snaps are going to be there in the game. It's a good trust that we have between us."
For information on tickets and the new Bobcat Family Package, which includes two adult and two youth (ages 3-18) season tickets for $79, call the Ohio Athletics Ticket Office at 1-800-575-CATS.
Junior long snapper Ryan Senser
On the mental side of long snapping:
"I just have to be ready to go at all times. Whether I'm only out there once in a quarter, I have to stay stretched and ready to go in there and make plays happen."
On his relative anonymity:
"The only time anybody ever really notices you is if you get downfield and make a tackle, or worst case scenario, snap one over somebody's head. I try to keep my name on the down-low as much as I can."
On whether snapping on both punts and field goals this season will make a difference:
"I was doing deep snaps last year, so if I had to choose which one was harder, I'd say that one. The short snaps come pretty naturally if you can do the deep snaps."
Senior kicker Matt Lasher
On how the first two weeks of camp have gone:
"It's going great so far. Everyone has shown great improvement. Two-a-days are a long journey, and a lot of times you have a tendency to slump in the middle. We're just trying to work through everything. I think we're doing a good job and getting better every day."
On potentially peforming all three kicking duties (placekicking, kicking off and punting):
"The good thing is that it keeps you in the game. Assuming there's not a turnover, after every offensive drive you're going to get to do something. It's a different type of swing, so it makes the actual kicking aspect a little more difficult, but mentally it keeps you in the game."
On a kicker's mindset after a miss:
"After you miss a kick, it's going to bother you. Don't let any kicker tell you it doesn't bother them. You just have to let it bother you for that split second and then move on."
On a kicker's relationship with his long snapper:
"Long snappers are just as much part of the specialist group as anybody. A lot of times they're like the bullies of the group, but they're also like the big brother. They look out for us."
Freshman kicker Justin Gomes
On how he's adjusting to the college game:
"The first week was a little bit of a struggle. The second week was a lot better. I got used to the timing. It's a lot faster pace, so I have to get used to that."
On the mental side of kicking:
"You just try and practice as hard as you can, prepare yourself mentally, and visualize yourself making kicks in games. You just try to make sure you're ready and prepared. Anything can happen on any play. There are not a lot of times you get a second chance, so you just have to go in there and do the best you can."
Freshman kicker Matt Schulte
On how his first preseason is going:
"I've been working all summer to try and get ready. (Matt) Lasher has been helping us. We're doing a lot better than we were when we first started."
On the biggest adjustments from high school to college:
"Kicking off the ground instead of off the tee is a big difference on the kicking side. Punting, it's getting used to the fast pace. When you have guys that are twice as fast as the guys in high school, it's a lot different."
On the competition between kickers:
"It's a friendly, love-hate relationship. Whenever we're working out we help each other to make ourselves better because when one of the other guys is doing well, it makes you a better player."