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Smith: Starting kicker up for grabs - even if he's a frosh

October 4, 2005
Javon Ringer, a freshman running back, rushes through Michigan's defensive line. Ringer rushed a total of 37 yards during Saturday's game. The bye week will give players like Ringer a time to rest up, head coach John L. Smith said.

After experiencing a game in which junior kicker John Goss missed two field goals, MSU head coach John L. Smith is once again keeping the position up for grabs.

"There's a couple of young guys out there, and the way it is right now, you might see those young guys playing," he said.

"You either toughen up and become a kicker and become more mentally tough or someone else will kick.

"Give me a guy that will kick it through, and if it's a freshman, that's fine."

Goss missed from 23 and 37 yards Saturday in the Spartans' 34-31 overtime loss to Michigan. Smith said he was thinking about letting Kyle Mayer attempt the kick in overtime until the junior kicker reported a groin injury.

Smith said the groin injury will likely prevent Mayer from kicking in practice this week.

Although Smith insists he hasn't given up on Goss just yet, he is challenging him to prove his worth.

"It's his obligation to show us, just like every other kid on this football team," Smith said. "If you don't think you're playing enough, it's your obligation to show that coach that you deserve more time."

"All the good ones (kickers) we've had, and there's several of them in the NFL, are tough guys that can kick. Tough guys that will go out and compete, and if they miss it they don't turn into a whatever. They'll bounce back and go kick the next one. The good ones want to go kick."

Time off

Smith said he welcomes the bye week his team is granted this week before heading to Columbus to face Ohio State on Oct. 15.

"The week off will be good for us, we need it," Smith said. "This is a week we can grow."

Smith plans on taking his team through light workouts in an effort to relieve some of the workload and get players back to full health.

"We practice (today)," he said. "Our coaches will recruit Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. We'll do a little bit during the week as far as kicking game, throwing and some things like that just to stay fresh. We'll give them some time off to recoup and try and get healthy."

Among the injured Spartans are junior linebacker David Herron Jr., sophomore linebacker Kaleb Thornhill, junior defensive lineman David Stanton and Mayer.

Smith said freshman running back Javon Ringer and sophomore running back Jehuu Caulcrick were also banged up a bit following Saturday's contest, but Smith expects the extent of their injuries to be nothing serious.

Smith also expects the return of senior wide receiver Aaron Alexander and sophomore cornerback Irving Campbell when MSU returns to action. Alexander has been sidelined with a broken leg, and Campbell missed action due to a knee injury.


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