Young kickers step in for Iowa State

Zac Reicks

It can be one of the most overlooked aspects of any football team. When things are going well, nobody says anything, but when things aren’t going well, people are going to make sure it’s known and talked about. It is the kicking game.

Iowa State is no different. The special teams look to build on the success of a 2000 season that saw senior Carl Gomez expand on his punting duties to make 7 of 8 field goals and 12 of 13 extra points.

With Gomez out of the picture due to graduation, redshirt freshmen Tony Yelk and true freshmen Troy Blankenship are eager to battle for both the punting and field goal duties.

After his freshmen season was cut short due to injury, Yelk looks to have a strong redshirt season and will try to make fans forget Gomez’s magical left foot.

Yelk is also making sure that the young Blankenship will be prepared to step in if a situation may arise.

“Tony has been a mentor to me all summer,” Blankenship said. “Whether lifting weights or out on the field, he has helped me gain confidence in a lot of areas.”

While the Cyclones will have to put an inexperienced kicker on the field in almost every aspect of the kicking game, Cyclone head coach Dan McCarney will make sure that the most talented individuals get a shot.

“We have to make sure we have talent on the field when it come to our kickers,” McCarney said.

“Yelk has the only real game experience, but they are all pretty young.”