The Wolfpacker

July 2012

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 89 of 155

2012 FOOTBALL PREVIEW BY MATT CARTER back, or finding receivers for Glennon to throw to, or replacing star linebacker Nate Irving on defense. His chief concern was the kicking game A that was being turned over to a trio of fresh- men. As special teams coordinator Jerry Pe- tercuskie joked, a year ago kicker Niklas Sade, punter Wil Baumann and long snapper Scott Thompson were trying to find the prac- tice fields and locate all the bathrooms. ||||||||||||||| SPECIAL TEAMS This year, the worries about the kicking game have significantly subsided. "Coming in as freshmen and playing in the venues they had to play in against the teams they had to play against, I think they exceeded some of the expectations — but when we recruited them we felt they were Thompson, KR Tobais Palmer and PR David Am- erson Top Reserves: PR Rashard Smith and PR/KR Bryan Underwood Waiting His Turn: None Newcomers: None Moved In: None Moved Out: None Other Departures: None FYI: Phil Steele's 2012 College Football Preview Returning Starters: PK Niklas Sade, P Wil Bau- mann and LS Scott Thompson Starters Lost: PR/KR T.J. Graham Projected Starters: PK Sade, P Baumann, LS ||||||| QUICK FACTS Position Coach: Jerry Petercuskie (6th season) year ago, head coach Tom O'Brien's top worry heading into the 2011 season was not Mike Glennon re- placing Russell Wilson at quarter- GROWING UP Freshmen No More, Pack Trio Is Ready To Improve Kicking Game good players," Petercuskie said. "And they are only going to get better and better." Sade had an up-and-down rookie cam- paign. He made his first three field goals, including an impressive 45-yard boot at Wake Forest, but missed five of his next six attempts. Sade then connected on his last seven tries to finish the season making 11 of 16 field goals with that long of 45. Petercuskie noted that the adjustments to a new snapper (Thompson) and holder (Baumann) may have contributed to some of the inconsistency, but he expects a confident Sade to improve in 2012. "Nik has gotten over 200 pounds now," Petercuskie noted about the 6-3 Sade. "He's getting to be a big guy. When you do that, the idea is that you have that type of force behind the football. "And he's a technician. He understands the art form. He knows when he's a little named the ACC Specialist of the Week after placing five punts inside the 10-yard line during State's 13-0 win over UNC at Carter- Finley Stadium. In the Kay Yow Spring Game in April, Baumann, an imposing punter at 6-4, 185 pounds, punted a staggering 16 times for an average of 41.1 yards. "There was no rush on him in the spring game, but still you have to kick the ball and you have to perform," Petercuskie said. "His big thing is that technically he's made big strides, I think. Physically the sky is the limit with this kid. His leg extension, his leverage, all of those things, he could be as good as he is going to be as long as he keeps working hard. He can be as good as he wants to be, let's put it that way, as he continues to work hard at it. "He's worked hard at his drops and exten- sions in terms of getting the ball out there. against, I think they exceeded some of the expectations … And they are only going to get better and better." "Coming in as freshmen and playing in the venues they had to play in against the teams they had to play ■ Special teams coordinator Jerry Petercuskie on placekicker Niklas Sade, punter Wil Bauman and long snapper Scott Thompson tabbed the Wolfpack the No. 10 special teams unit in the ACC after the unit was ranked No. 70 in the country last season based on the numbers … Phil Steele's named sophomore Wil Baumann to its fourth-team preseason All-ACC squad … NC State was the only school in the Football Bowl Subdivi- sion to use a true freshman at kicker, punter and long snapper last season … Baumann was one of just six true freshman punters in FBS, and likewise placekicker Niklas Sade was one of six in that class to kick … Sade's 46 made extra points last season is second most in a single season at NC State, and his eight point after tries against Maryland tied a school record for one game. ||||||| 2012 SPECIAL TEAMS No. Name 36 Wil Baumann 55 Joe Prater 32 Niklas Sade 48 Matthew Shaefer 57 Scott Thompson 88 ■ THE WOLFPACKER Pos. P LS PK PK LS Ht. 6-4 6-0 6-3 6-0 6-0 Wt. 185 220 200 187 220 bit off. The good thing with Nik is he's a very confident kid. Every one that he goes out there to kick he believes he is going to make." Like Sade, Baumann had a roller-coaster freshman-year effort. He ended the season averaging 37.5 yards per punt on 65 at- tempts, downing 21 kicks inside the 20. Baumann had some games, though, where he showed off his potential. Against Cincin- nati and FSU, a pair of road dates where State's offense struggled, Baumann averaged 42.5 yards on six punts and 40.6 yards on seven punts, respectively. Baumann was also Yr. So. 5th-Sr. 5th-Sr. So. Hometown (Last School) Wilmington, N.C. (Hoggard) Garner, N.C. (Garner) So. Wake Forest, N.C. (Wakefield) Cary, N.C. (Cardinal Gibbons) Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. (Trabuco Hills) He's such a long-legged guy he's got to get the ball out there, and when he doesn't that's when he jams himself and those are the punts that obviously weren't very good for us last year." Thompson will once again handle the long snapping duties, a job he did well enough to not receive any notice last season, which is the goal of every long snapper. Petercuskie noted that Thompson is working on getting stronger and quicker to help more on the punt coverage units. The biggest questions on special teams surrounds the return and coverage units. Gone is T.J. Graham, who has handled the punt and kick returns for the bulk of the past four seasons. Graham returned four kicks for touchdowns and departed as the Zach Gentry, a senior linebacker, will lead the way for NC State's coverage units after compiling 30 tackles on special teams over the last two seasons. PHOTO BY ERIC LUSK

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