It sounds like the Great Kicker Battle of 2012 finally has a winner.
According to Harry Plumer, freshman Blake Lucas will be UMass’ placekicker against UConn, while incumbent Brendon Levengood will kick off, and Jeff Strait will punt.
Lucas is a Georgia native who committed to UMass as a preferred walk-on in March.
The new kicking breakdown leaves a number of reported newcomers out in the cold. During this past off season, the Minutemen added Colter Johnson (transfer), Jeremy Stinson(preferred walk-on), and Ian Maltz (unclear whether he committed as a scholarship athlete or a preferred walk-on), and Lucas.
This may mean that several of these athletes redshirted. None of the new kickers are listed on the 2012 roster, which currently lists this year’s recruit class.
One this is for certain: Something needs to improve in the kicking department this season. Last year Brandon Yelovich and Levengood combined for eight out of 14 field goals. Levengood was also unable to connect on five of his 23 PAT attempts. Not every miss was his fault, but the kicking game was a particular concern throughout the season.
Coach Molnar was interviewed about the UConn game during a MAC Conference Call for Week 1. Listen to it here:
Quote of the Interview: “I want fans on both sides to say, ‘Let’s do this again next year.’”