|COLLEGE FOOTBALL PACKAGE: South Carolina kicker Succop ready for busy season|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 29 August 2007 13:50|
The strong-legged Succop became South Carolina's one-man kicking crew in 2006, handling kickoffs, field goals and punting.
His right foot made 16 of 20 field goals a year ago - including a 55-yarder against Vanderbilt that stands as the second-longest field goal in school history - and averaged nearly 44 yards a punt. He was named the second-team all-Southeastern Conference kicker by the league's coaches.
In July, Succop was voted the preseason all-SEC first-team kicker and made the second team for punting.
``It feels like a real blessing that I can do this,'' said Succop, who came to South Carolina in 2005 as a highly regarded special teams player from Hickory (N.C.) High School.
He became coach Steve Spurrier's kickoff guy as a freshman, routinely booming footballs out of the end zone. He tried two field goals that 2005 season, missing from 50 yards against UCF and from 46 yards against Georgia.
Succop came into his own last fall after adding punting to his duties. He said he uses different swings and techniques for each discipline.
He'll generally spend 30 minutes punting, concentrating solely on that before moving on to another half hour of place kicking.
``I just try to focus on each one when I'm at it,'' he said.
Special teams coach Fred Chatham said Succop's a throwback in college football.
``You've got to be a disciplined kid, you've got to be athletic, a big strong kid to deal with the pounding if you want to keep up with the best people in the league, which we do,'' Chatham said.
NEW DAWGS: Mark Richt knows Georgia fans are eager for their first look at the 2007 Bulldogs Saturday. The coach shares their curiosity.
As many as 20 freshmen and redshirt freshmen are expected to play in No. 13 Georgia's opener against Oklahoma State on Saturday, including a large number of newcomers across the offensive line.
``It's going to be fun to watch those guys we've never seen play before,'' Richt said.
It also may be a little scary.
Richt said he's probably never had as many questions at as many positions. He says he's excited about the talent of the newcomers but says there are always surprises when players see their first playing time.
Center Fernando Velasco and right tackle Chester Adams, both seniors, are the only experienced players on the offensive front.
``We could at any given moment have three true freshmen playing along with a redshirt freshman guard,'' Richt said of his offensive line, including his tight end.
Freshman Trinton Sturdivant is the starting left tackle and freshmen Clint Bolins and Justin Anderson are top backups. Redshirt freshman Chris Davis is the starting left guard and junior college transfer Scott Havercamp is the starting right guard. Another top backup is sophomore tackle Vince Vance, a transfer also in his first year in the program.
Freshman Bruce Figgins may start ahead of redshirt freshman NaDerris Ward at tight end as junior Tripp Chandler serves a one-game suspension.
MCFADDEN MANIA: If there were any doubt about Darren McFadden's place in Arkansas football history, here's another stat to provide a bit of perspective:
Robert Mann estimates he'll usually order maybe 600 Razorbacks jerseys with numbers on the back, to sell during football season at various locations. This year, he's ordered over 2,000 with McFadden's No. 5.
``I have never seen anything like the No. 5,'' said Mann, the school's director of retail operations for men's athletics.
The jerseys Mann orders are sold at Hog Heaven stores at Arkansas' home football and basketball facilities in Fayetteville - and at various other kiosks. Mann said he wasn't aware of just how many No. 5s he'd ordered until he contacted somebody at Adidas, who told him.
McFadden rushed for a school-record 1,647 yards last season. He was also second in the Heisman Trophy voting, and Mann says his candidacy for this year's award is the reason the jersey is so popular.
LESTER IN LIMBO: Auburn tailback Brad Lester's status for the season opener remains in limbo.
Coach Tommy Tuberville said Wednesday that Lester, suspended for the Cotton Bowl because of academics, could still be cleared to play Saturday night for the 18th-ranked Tigers against Kansas State.
``There's been talk about the carry-over from the bowl game, which there could be,'' he said. ``We're going to wait and see the next couple of days how that works out. He's taking care of some personal problems. Hopefully we can work it out in the near future.''
Tuberville didn't elaborate on the reasons for Lester's uncertain status. He is expected to replace Kenny Irons after rushing for 510 yards and nine touchdowns last season.
The Tigers entered fall camp with a surplus of tailbacks and now potentially have a shortage. Tristan Davis is expected to miss several weeks with a broken toe. Tailback/fullback Carl Stewart is returning from a hamstring injury that caused him to miss most of preseason practice, but is expected to play against Kansas State.
Ben Tate and redshirt freshman Mario Fannin also will figure heavily into what Tuberville calls Auburn's ``running back by committee'' approach. Tate averaged 7.3 yards on 54 carries as a freshman.
COMEBACK TIGER: LSU guard Will Arnold, a former starter who missed most of last season with an ankle injury, said his comeback was ahead of schedule.
``I'm shocked at how well I've come back,'' Arnold said. ``Going into camp, I couldn't have told you if I was going to make it through camp and play football, period, or what, but I'm real pleased.''
Second-ranked LSU plays at Mississippi State on Thursday night. Arnold said he hoped to get into the game.
LSU coach Les Miles said Arnold, a senior, was in for ``every snap in the last two practices and appears to be rounding into shape and having an opportunity to play a little bit more football.''
Arnold has 19 career starts, 18 at left guard, and is listed on the depth chart as Herman Johnson's backup.
AP sports writers Noah Trister in Fayeteville, Ark., Brett Martel in New Orleans, John Zenor in Auburn, Ala., and Charles Odum in Athens, Ga., contributed to this report.