AMES — As special teams weapons go, Iowa State kicker Edwin Arceo’s a work in progress.
Punter Kirby Van Der Kamp’s a well-established threat.
It stands to reason: Arceo, a walk-on, has made two starts.
Van Der Kamp started from day one three seasons ago — and entering Saturday’s 7 p.m. home game against Western Illinois, owns a 66.7 percent success rate this season in dropping punts inside the opponent’s 20-yard line.
“As a punter and a kicker you’ve just got to make your nerves calm,” Van Der Kamp said last week. “You’ve just got to relax. Every time I step on that field it’s about making the crowd white noise and going out there and focusing on your job.”
Repetition — in technique and pressure situations — breeds success.
Arceo missed his first career extra point attempt in Saturday’s 9-6 win at Iowa.
He came back and hit what proved to be the game-winner — a 22-yarder — early in the second quarter, but remained dismayed about the one-point miss.
“Missing an extra point, that’s unforgivable,” Arceo said.
But he’s forgiven.
Lesson learned, ISU Coach Paul Rhoads said.
“As we often say, it’s never as bad or good as you see and you’ve got to get to the film and study it,” Rhoads said. “He fundamentally hit the extra point wrong.”
Rhoads noted Arceo’s mechanics went awry.
“He was lazy with his right hip,” Rhoads said. “And that’s why the ball went (wide).”
As for the made field goal …
“I complimented him for coming back in that kind of atmosphere and making that, (but) he was awful with his fundamentals,” Rhoads said. “His kick leg barely got this high and all he was trying to do was make it. All he was trying to do was punch it through. And then the (57-yard attempt he barely missed) at the end of the (first) half, he comes and hits with more torque. So he hit three different balls differently. And we want him to hit every ball the same.”
Van Der Kamp has excelled largely because of his all-things-accounted-for preparation.
Of 15 punts this season, 10 have dropped inside the foe’s 20-yard line.
Some were long boots.
Some were of the “pooch” variety.
“He’s cerebral about the game,” Rhoads said. “And there are about three, maybe more, different approaches, if you can believe that, about punting the ball in a pooch situation based on wind, based on field position, based on confidence level. He analyzes it, he looks at it, then goes out and executes it.”
Iowa punted or turned it over after each of Van Der Kamp’s six punts last weekend.
Tulsa managed one touchdown and nothing else positive after receiving nine punts the previous week.
Yeah, field position’s important.
“Huge,” said ISU all-Big 12 linebacker Jake Knott. “There’s nothing else you can really say about it other than that. You have a lot more confidence going out there knowing you can give up 20 yards and they’re not going to be in your red zone.”
And Arceo’s confidence will grow, too.
“I just have to go back to work,” he said.
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