With the graduation of the Broncos all-time leading scorer and most accurate PAT kicker, and a punter who averaged 41 yards per punt last season, WMU Head Coach Bill Cubit biggest area of weakness heading into the 2012 season is with his kicking game.
Cubit laughed slightly when asked about the kicking situation, but maybe only to hide his fear that his special teams unit could be in severe trouble in 2012.
“Thank goodness we don’t play (Illinois) tomorrow, because we need a lot of work!”
Gone from last year’s team are four year starters, placekicker John Potter and punter Ben Armer. Potter, now a member of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, leaves Western as the MAC record holder with 129 consecutive successful PATs, and the Broncos all-timer leading scorer with 333 points. Potter also made contributions on special teams, recording 36 tackles in four years. Ben Armer averaged 41 yards per punt in 2011, with 21 of 42 punts landing inside the 20.
Coach Cubit knows and understands how difficult the loss of these two players could be for his team.
“It’s huge”, Cubit said. “A lot of people don’t look at how big of a loss they are for us.”
Attempting to replace Potter’s golden foot will be redshirt freshman Andrew Halderman. Halderman struggled during spring ball but looked more comfortable as the spring wore on. But the field goal kicking team is still a work in progress
“The PAT and field goal, that’s going to take some time. However, Andrew is a lot better now than he was in the spring, which is good.”
Incoming freshman J Schroeder will take over the punting duties, but also has the ability to kick field goals and be used for kickoffs. As a senior in high school the Columbus, Ohio native was successful on 11 of 14 field goal attempts, while 73% of his kickoffs resulted in touch backs.
“I think Schroeder will be good for us, I like what he’s done”