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Goss still in as kicker, but several new faces nipping at his heels

October 11, 2005
Junior Kicker John Goss attempts a 23-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. The kick was one of two that was missed by Goss including one in overtime that allowed Michigan to win by a field goal.

After a week off, MSU's kicking game remains where it was before - on the foot of junior John Goss.

But the competition is far from over, according to head coach John L. Smith.

"It's going good," he said. "We've been working hard on it, going out early, working hard and trying to apply more pressure, more pressure, more pressure, more distraction, more distraction to hopefully increase our focus."

The Spartans' kicking game has seen an influx of new faces since Goss missed two crucial field goals in MSU's 34-31 overtime loss to Michigan on Oct. 1.

Junior Kyle Mayer is out of the picture due to a groin injury. He did not kick over the bye week, but will start kicking again this week.

Redshirt freshman Todd Boleski is expected to handle most of the kickoff duties this week. Junior punter Brandon Fields will also kick off.

Freshman Matt Haughey is now listed second on the place-kicking depth chart behind Goss. Both are earning merit with Smith.

"(Sunday) was John's best day of kicking in a long time," Smith said. "I liked that and I liked Haughey."

Haughey, nicknamed "Chips Ahoy," has come out of nowhere to be listed on the depth chart.

"He's been wandering around the streets of campus," Smith joked. "As I was out jogging one day, I bumped into him and said, 'Come out and kick!'"

Smith, who was publicly rough on Goss last week, relented a bit this week.

"He knows I'm not a very kind individual," Smith said. "But he knows we still love him and he loves us and that he is going to get better and this is an opportunity for his skin to get real thick and that's what you need to be a good kicker.

"He has to learn to trust his swing."


Coming back

Senior wide receiver Aaron Alexander started running this past week but is not expected to return for a few weeks.

Alexander suffered a broken foot in preseason camp and has yet to play this season.

"We're increasing what he's doing," Smith said. "He's not there yet."

There are no plans to try to get Alexander a medical redshirt, Smith said.


Tough debut

Smith's nephew, San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith, made his first National Football League start Sunday in the 49ers' 28-3 loss to Indianapolis.

Alex Smith, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2005 NFL Draft, completed just 9-of-23 passes for 74 yards with no touchdowns and four interceptions.

He also lost a fumble and was sacked five times.

"The only thing I told him is, 'Hey, it's part of the maturing process. It's part of growing and you're going to get better,'" Smith said. "He'll be fine."

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