Cole Netten, Edwin Arceo to continue kicking competition until game day


Jonathan Krueger/Iowa State Daily

Redshirt freshman Cole Netten and redshirt senior Edwin Arceo continue to compete to be named the starting kicker for Iowa State’s first game of the season, against the University of Northern Iowa

Dylan Montz

Just when Paul Rhoads thought he saw something, the tilt evened out.

The ISU coach is still looking for a starting kicker for Saturday’s season opener against the University of Northern Iowa, and he believes it is a question mark that will not be answered until game day.

“Just when you start to think you have answers in a situation like that, somebody drops off in their performance,” Rhoads said. “I want to feel great about who it is I’m putting out there and the reason I put them out there.”

Redshirt freshman Cole Netten and redshirt senior Edwin Arceo are vying for the kicking duties this season for Iowa State and are dead even entering game week. Arceo, who was the starting kicker last season, said while he started fall camp very strong, he had a few issues at the end of camp.

“The last couple days [of fall camp] haven’t been my best days, but I’m still working hard and still trying to fix every little thing I can before next week,” Arceo said.

Last season, Arceo handled all of the kicking duties for the Cyclones connecting on 12 of his 18 field goal attempts and 37-of-40 extra points. After sitting out last season as a redshirt, Netten said he feels ready for an opportunity to be the starter going forward.

Even though Rhoads hasn’t hinted at a decision about who will trot onto the field first, Netten said he trusts Rhoads’ final decision.

“I’m as confident as I can be as a kicker,” Netten said. “That’s a huge thing to be. I’m pretty sure [Arceo and I] are pretty confident. Whatever the decision is, I trust [Rhoads]. We both trust him with the decision he is going to make. Whoever gets chosen I’m sure will help the other one out.”

The two kickers also have a strong relationship off the football field as well. They are in meetings, on the field and in the film room together during the day, but are also roommates.

Netten said that even though he and Arceo are deadlocked in competition, they haven’t lost sight that whoever is chosen is for the betterment of the team.

Arceo said he has been able to learn things on the gridiron from Netten and vice versa.

“There’s some things I can see him doing, but I don’t try to copy him,” Arceo said of Netten. “I try to do my own version of it and just how it fits my style.”

Rhoads said he will make a decision on each aspect of kicking — kickoff, field goals and PATs — and each competition will be independent of the others. But he will not have a short field goal kicker and a long field goal kicker.

“They are both capable of hitting from whatever the distance I would choose to attempt,” Rhoads said. “I’ve got confidence in those kids, their legs and the situations I put them in. Both of those guys are capable of doing it.”

For Netten, the three biggest goals entering fall camp were to: stay fresh, be consistent and be perfect from inside 40 yards. Now, days away from the first game, he feels he has lived up to his expectations and has built up a lot of excitement in the process.

“I remember last year, the first game was something I’ll never forget,” Netten said. “All the hard work you put in in the winter, it’s all for the games on Saturday.”