After heavy rain and thunder made its way through Kent Friday night, the team moved inside to the Field House—except the lights wouldn't come on.
Head coach Darrell Hazell ended the practice after 30 minutes (all the doors were opened along the sidelines to let some light in). Friday night was only scheduled to last about an hour anyway.
Saturday morning will include a kicking scrimmage, the first of camp after the NCAA's new rule changes for this upcoming season. Kickoffs will now take place at the 35-yard line, touchbacks will be returned to the 25 and the kicking team can only line up five yards behind the ball, shortening the space for getting a running start.
Senior kicker Freddy Cortez should be able to take advantage.
"[Cortez] should be able to put it 7-8 yards deep, which should be a kneel down," Hazell said. "That's big, kicking from the 35. That'll be the biggest [problem] for tomorrow. Probably won't get any returns."
Hazell will gladly accept giving opposing offenses the ball at the 25 if it means no chance at a return. The idea of trying to pin teams inside the 20 was kicked around but nixed.
"That was brought up, it was mentioned by our special teams coordinator [Dave McMichael] and I said absolutely not," Hazell said. "Too many things can happen that you can't control. Why not give him the ball at the 25?"
He also believes that those five additional yards will have a bigger impact than some might expect.
"You see the percentages," Hazell said. "There's a graph of how teams score [in relation to where] the ball starts. It drastically goes up."
Anthony Melchiori, a freshman kicker/punter from Aurora, is currently listed as the No. 2 on the depth chart at both positions.
Hazell says Melchiori is athletic and confident enough to do both, he just needs to work on his mechanics (like speeding up his punting stroke). Hazell also says Melchiori has a "huge leg before adding, "huge...huge."