As we gear up for the 2013 college football season, Rant Sports will provide positional preview for the 2013 Texas Longhorns. Today we look at one of the most important positions on a football field and by far one of the most underrated: the punter. Though no one ever wants to see the punter take the field, football is a game of field position, and as a result the job of the punter is an important one.
Prior to last season, despite the fact that the Longhorns would have to find a new punter, they looked to be in great shape with two transfers headed to the 40 Acres: Anthony Fera from Penn State University and Alex King from Duke University.
Before the season began, however, Fera suffered a leg injury that kept him sidelined for most of the year. When he finally saw the field, he struggled at kicker making just 2 out of 4 field goals, and he never attempted a punt. King, on the other hand, was outstanding for the Longhorns, and quite frankly was likely the most consistent player on the team (which isn’t what one hopes to see).
With King’s eligibility expired, it’s now Fera’s turn to show what he can do as he heads into his senior season.
When he first arrived at Texas, many thought Fera would handle both kicking and punting duties, much like he did at Penn State. However, this spring, Mack Brown told the Dallas Morning News that Fera will focus solely on punting, at least for the time being. He stated:
We are not discouraged, we are not giving up on him, but we thought we need him well so we can go back and see the guy we saw at Penn State. Yes, he will punt. Today if were punting, he could punt. And he’s punting every day in practice. He is not kicking field goals as of yet.
Who knows when or if Fera will ever be the kicker for Texas, but as we head into fall practices, he is indeed the team’s starting punter.
At Penn State, Fera was the conference’s best at the position, averaging a very solid 42 yards per punt. It will be interesting to see if he can get back into top form, considering he hasn’t punted in a game in over a year.
While fans hope the Horns aren’t forced to punt much this season, the truth of the matter is that it happens, and when it does it’s nice to know you have someone back there who can flip the field. The Longhorns are hoping that Anthony Fera will be that guy.