Blue and Gold Illustrated


Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 8 of 67 PRESEASON 2022 9 FAN FORUM For the past seven seasons, Notre Dame has had the luxury of having a dependable placekicker to lean on. Justin Yoon handled that role from 2015-18, and became the program's all-time leader in scoring (367 points) and field goal accuracy (80.8 percent). Jonathan Doerer picked up where Yoon left off and handled the role from 2019-21, and finished his career second on both of those all-time kicker lists with 309 points and 75.4-percent accuracy rate on field goals. After graduate student Blake Grupe and sophomore Josh Bryan missed three of their four field goal attempts in the Blue-Gold Game April 23, head coach Marcus Freeman noted that the Irish needed to improve their kicking game to reach their goal of being a championship-caliber team. With the start of fall practice approaching, a subscriber raised the question if there was reason for concern about the field goal kick- ing in 2022. Here is a sampling of what Irish fans on our message board had to say: muscnd: I don't think I've seen it talked about unless I missed something. Who is the projected starter? ND always has a few games come down to the kicker needing to be clutch and I hope our kicker comes through this year. Rockne1988: After watching the spring game the whole unit is on notice. Bostonirish: Just as much as the other positions if not more, along with the punting game. Concerns all over. OlyIrish: Heck yes. They looked beyond horrible. apegambino: That's the only problem I've seen with Mason as a special teams coordinator. The kicking has been inconsistent under him at previous stops to say the least. He's made up for it with how impact he has been with blocked kicks and punt and kick return offense/defense. I could easily see us having some kicking woes this season but I also expect more explosive plays from the special teams this season. CoachVic3: I remember the days when Lou Holtz had all those walk-on kick- ers every year. Now we have 2 scholarship kickers and PWO (preferred walk- on) that all kinda scare me. … Prayers for ND special teams. I hope someone stands out and is consistent. Edd1066: Absolutely, concerns all over the place on offense. NCDomer: Grupe did make the Groza Award watch list so maybe there's some smoke there and hopefully we will be fine. Either way it's a concern till we see him knock a couple in during game play. We will just have to wait and see but we have been solid with kicking lately so I have faith. Karsten44: Agreed. I get the sense that he's going to be very solid from 40 and under. I think we are going to see Tommy Rees going for it on 4th down a lot this year outside of 40 yards. Jeff.M: Bingo. Grupe is 81 percent from under 40 yards in his college career, but 65 or 66 percent over 40 yards. How he made the watch list is beyond me. jrp3: I won't pretend to be a kicking expert but it's hard to not be concerned given the turnover at both kicker and punter and the lack of a … convincing spring game performance. Though I think we might have just been spoiled by Doerer and Bramblett, and a concerning kicking year this year might just be a normal one by college football standards. I am interested with what hap- pens at punter, because [Bryan] Dowd looked convincingly better than [Chris] Salerno in the spring game (averaged about 10 yards more per punt and his longest was about 10 yards farther as well), but is obviously in a unique scenario given he's also the starting soccer goalkeeper. Honestly could totally see a freshman ending up winning the starting job at either kicker or punter. JOIN THE CONVERSATION AT BLUEANDGOLD.COM! GET ONE YEAR FOR JUST $1 FROM THE WEBSITE .com .com Welcome To Welcome To 902 North St. Peter Street — South Bend, IN 46617 A stately Georgian style brick home, 4 blocks to Notre Dame $1,350,000 Presented By Pam Dunfee Associate Broker Cell: (574) 210-3536 Office: (574) 277-7444 Email: SEE THE HOUSE

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