A Look At The Aggies - #5
Aug. 13, 2002
Each day of football practice from August 7-August 23, two Aggie football players will be featured in press releases and on the USU website at www.UtahStateAggies.com.
Steve Mullins P, 6-4, 227, Sr., Phoenix, Ariz. (Paradise Valley HS)
Steve Mullins is an extremely valuable member of the Utah State football team. However, Aggie coaches would prefer their senior punter spend as little time on the field as possible, since they would rather be putting points up on the board instead of punting the football to the opposition.
Mullins is the nation's top returning punter after finishing fourth in the country with a school-record tying 44.8 yard average in 2001. He earned honorable mention All-America honors by The Football News and was a Ray Guy Award semifinalist. The Ray Guy Award is given annually to the nation's best punter.
This year, Mullins, who has excelled as a punter since arriving in Logan as a quarterback candidate, should once again be among the nation's elite. The Sporting News has already tabbed him a second-team preseason All-American.
For the second straight summer Mullins attended the Ray Guy Punting Camp, but this year he served as an instructor for some of the nation's college punters, instead of receiving instruction as a camper.
"You get just as much out of instructing as you do being a camper, because when you teach, you have to go over every detail of punting for them and you go over things that maybe you forget about," Mullins explained. "It helped me out just as much to see what other people do wrong. It made me focus on details that maybe I have been missing."
Mullins has been working hard this summer to improve his technique and to increase the height of his punts.
"Most bad punts come from bad drops," he said. "I went back to the basics and broke down everything all over again, so that I won't be sloppy in going over all the minor details.
"I need to kick the ball higher so that it gives our guys a better chance to get down there to make a tackle and cover up," Mullins said about his major concern for improvement . "Just from last year I have gotten better so that should make a big improvement in our coverage team and take a lot of pressure off of them."
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Dane Kidman PK, 5-11, 188, Sr., Ogden, Utah (Ogden HS)
In his first season Kidman started out well making his first three field goal attempts and continued to shine by hitting on seven of his first 10 attempts of the year. However, Kidman was 0-of-three in the final three games of the year and finished the year making seven-of-13 attempts.
He attributed that late season faltering to a lack of preseason preparation and physical problems. He is determined not to let that happen again.
"I feel really good about this year," Kidman said. "I have more confidence than I did last season. I know what to expect going into the season. I know how to prepare myself. I didn't do such a good job last year preparing myself physically or mentally and it showed towards the end of the year. This year I am going to be more prepared."
Kidman spent more time in the weight room this spring and summer and has improved his strength, which should lead to a healthy 2002 season. He has also cut back on his number of repetitions in the preseason.
"My plant knee was achy and sore and I wore down towards the end of the season," Kidman said of last year. "That can result in mental problems as well."