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Posted on Mon, Mar 22, 2010 : 11:28 a.m.

Michigan evaluating kickers, punters during spring football practice

By Dave Birkett

Quietly, Michigan had one of the most dependable kicking games in the Big Ten last year. Placekicker Jason Olesnavage was a dependable 11-for-15 on field-goal attempts, and punter Zoltan Mesko was a Ray Guy Award finalist.

Both are gone now, as is kickoff specialist Bryan Wright, and the Wolverines are auditioning replacements this spring.

“There is some concern because we haven’t had anybody that’s really done it in a game,” Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said. “This is going to be a big spring, but we have some talent there and we have some talent coming in the fall so I’m anxious to see how that shakes out this spring. I think there’s several guys that can do the job.”

First on that list is Will Hagerup, a true freshman punter from Wisconsin who’s expected to take over for Mesko. Hagerup won’t be on campus until the summer, and Michigan doesn’t have any other punters listed on its roster.


Michigan kicker Brendan Gibbons

Courtesy of U-M

At kicker, redshirt freshman Brendan Gibbons is the favorite to win the job, but he was expected to start last year, too, only to get beat out in camp by Olesnavage.

Michigan has three other walk-on kickers on its spring roster, Seth Broekhuizen, Kris Pauloski and Scott Schrimsher. All were on Michigan’s roster last year.

“There’s going to be a lot of evaluating going on with those guys,” Rodriguez said. “We have a few walk-ons in the program, Brendan Gibbons is a scholarship guy that redshirted last year, it’s going to be a big spring for him. We have a lot of question marks there.”

Dave Birkett covers University of Michigan football for He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.


Terry Star21

Tue, Mar 23, 2010 : 11:21 a.m.

Attend the Spring Practice Game and join Theo, Blue, Tator, Buzz, Wersch, Willievrine, and myself with 192,000,00 fans April 17 at the Big House. I am putting on a tailgate party, got 100,000 steaks in semi trucks coming up from Ohio, my little brother in East Lansing is driving down the beer truck... we'll park it right next to the grill... Rudy is sending some cigars as a truce (apparently my kid beat up his kid again). We are going to put 30,000 folding chairs on each side of the new roof over the luxury suites, maybe get some Dominos Pizza up to them... it is going to be great, and were getting a win for sure, combine with 12 win season, the National champs - 14-0 baby.... it's great to be a Wolverine fan!


Tue, Mar 23, 2010 : 10:22 a.m.

Hey, Theo; With the likes of you, tater and me and newcomers like BlueInSC, buzz, Terry Star21 and wersch213 it's time to re-organize the vaunted, "Circle of Honor."


Mon, Mar 22, 2010 : 11:15 p.m.

You're somewhat right, Terry Starr, except you got #3 backwards-East Lansing IS your Big Brother, and how!


Mon, Mar 22, 2010 : 9:35 p.m.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm..... I'm leaning towards..... 5!

Terry Star21

Mon, Mar 22, 2010 : 8:58 p.m.

Thanks 'BlueInSC' I like the group, 'UM Football Truth Tellers', set the world straight... buds forever man! Guess which I am; 1. One of the football coaches. 2. Have a license to hunt Buckeye. 3. A Big Brother to East Lansing. 4. Beat up Rudy when we were kids. 5. All of above.


Mon, Mar 22, 2010 : 8:36 p.m.

Great to meet you, Terry Star21! I talked to Musberger about you, and he likes what he hears!

Terry Star21

Mon, Mar 22, 2010 : 8:15 p.m.

Mr. Theo212... Yes, I love you guys (man)... include me in your group always... great UM football minds do think alike... others may laugh at your score predictions, and me saying we're 16-0 this season (please see Big Ten Expansion comments).. they just have no clue that we're 'Right-On'. The King Lives!


Mon, Mar 22, 2010 : 3:45 p.m.

I have heard that Gibbons is up to 245.At 6'2, that is a funny looking placekicker.He was a top recriut last year in the kicker area but was beaten out by a walkon.Not good. Hagerup will be OK, but the pressure is on the placekicker,not the punter.


Mon, Mar 22, 2010 : 12:20 p.m.

Looks like Hagerup won't have the luxury of redshirting like Mesko did. He's going to have to The Man. And Gibbons needs to really step up this year and be ready to be a Big Ten kicker. We'll certainly be inexperienced at the kicking positions this fall. But, I think both these guys will end up being very good Michigan kickers in the long run.

Terry Star21

Mon, Mar 22, 2010 : 11:17 a.m.

I couldn't agree more Theo... the punter will sit on the bench... if we ever have a rare game that a fourth down comes up, Rich Rod will go for it... FIRST DOWN!!!


Mon, Mar 22, 2010 : 11:09 a.m.

Last U of M football victory October 17, 2009 del St. Yep there will be plenty of kickoffs only U of M will be on returning team


Mon, Mar 22, 2010 : 10:54 a.m.

Punting will be vital as contrary to some who believe otherwise, it will happen a lot, especially against PSU, ND, Wisc, PSU, MSU, Conn. and OSU. 6 wins counting spring game.

Terry Star21

Mon, Mar 22, 2010 : 10:47 a.m.

Kind of thin at punting, great competition at the other kicking spots... me not worry, it's Meeechigan, by September it will be all in place... MgoBlue! Everyone please attend the Spring Practice Game April 17, OSUbeButter from Ohio tells me odds makers give Michigan 3-1 odds to win that game. MaizeGoBlue!

Sean T.

Mon, Mar 22, 2010 : 10:45 a.m.

Go Hagerup!