Freshman Meyer Taking Hold of Kicker Job

Freshman Meyer Taking Hold of Kicker Job

Iowa entered the season with incumbent Daniel Murray battling Trent Mossbrucker for field goal kicking duties. After an injury to Murray and inconsistency my Mossbrucker, true freshman Mike Meyer has won the gig. His 30-yard kick at Michigan sealed the win for the Hawkeyes.

IOWA CITY, Ia. - Kirk Ferentz said he didn't look. If freshman kicker Mike Meyer was nervous, the Iowa Coach couldn't bring himself to see it.

Meyer trotted onto the field at Michigan Stadium late in Saturday's game with most of the more than 110,000 people in attendance hoping he'd miss. There had to be jitters, but the Dubuque native calmly lined up and drilled a 30-yarder through the uprights with four minutes on the clock and the Wolverines mounting a furious comeback.

The kick pushed Iowa's lead to 38-28 and that's how the game ended. It went into the record books as Meyer's third college field goal. It was by far the most pressurized.

"He realizes he is on the team and has a role and we are counting on him," Ferentz said. "That was a big moment for him to get that. I know he has had two others but that one really counted and hopefully that is a good building block."

Meyer walked onto the Iowa team after an all-state senior season at Dubuque Wahlert High. He set a Mississippi Valley Conference record with a 56-yard field goal.

"We knew about him," Ferentz said. "We were trying to recruit him, convince him to come."

Iowa already had two scholarship place kickers for 2010 - Daniel Murray and Trent Mossbrucker. Still, Ferentz sold a role to Meyer.

"We told him he could come to camp, and we told him he had a very real opportunity," Ferentz said. "The other thing is we promised him he would have an opportunity to compete and after that it's in his hands.

"He has confidence. That showed when he got here. The fact that he chose to come shows he had confidence in his own abilities. Worst case he could have sat out.

"Our biggest sales pitch was that we felt he could kick off for us this year, or have a chance. He has done that and none of us foresaw Dan getting hurt. He is running with it."

Murray missed the first four games with an injury. Mossbrucker won the field goal duties out of camp, while Meyer locked up kickoff responsibilities.

Murray and Mossbrucker came into the season having experienced ups and downs during their careers. They were alternating in 2008 before Murray won the heart of many Hawkeye fans by kicking the game-winning field goal against then-No. 2 Penn State at Kinnick Stadium.

Murray stepped into the full-time kicking role on '09 with Mossbrucker taking a redshirt during his second season on campus. Murray struggled with consistency last fall.

The consistency issues seemed to follow Mossbrucker and Murray into and throughout '10 spring practice. Ferentz voiced his displeasure and concern in the media.

The Hawkeyes didn't attempt a field goal during the first two weeks of this season. Mossbrucker handled the extra points. After he had a PAT blocked at Arizona in Week 3, he was pulled as the kicker.

Meyer came out in Week 4 against Ball State as the No. 1 and has taken every extra point and field goal try since then. He also has handled kickoffs.

"I thought it was worth looking at, "Ferentz said of the switch from Mossbrucker to Meyer. "If he hadn't (looked good in practice), we would not have considered it. I thought it was worth a shot."

Murray was cleared by doctors three weeks ago but has not seen any action. He did not make the trip to Ann Arbor last week.

"It kind of all just goes down to the way they've been practicing," Murray said last week of Meyer passing Mossbrucker. "I think it was more of what the coaches had a feel of doing. I didn't really ask.

"But Mike's a good kicker, as you've seen so far. He's got a really strong leg. He's got to work on some things mechanically to get better, but I think he'll be good in the future."

Overall, Meyer is 3 of 4 on field goal attempts and is a perfect 14 for 14 on extra points. The 30-yarder against Michigan is his longest field goal make as he missed from 37 versus Ball State.

Ferentz complimented Meyer's mental makeup.

"He seems unaffected by everything," the coach said. "That showed up in his first game. We were curious to see how he would kick off and he did well. I am sure his mind is racing a bit, but outwardly it doesn't seem that way. He did the same the other day. that was a big field goal."

Note: Ferentz restricts true freshmen from speaking with the media. That is why Mike Meyer was not interviewed for this story.

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