KENT: Special teams players often don’t have much to do during spring football practices once they’ve run through their unit and individual drills early each day.
That’s why Kent State junior kicker and punter Anthony Melchiori was so excited about the prospect of Thursday’s kick scrimmage at Dix Stadium, tweeting Wednesday: “Specialist’s Super Bowl tomorrow #kickscrimmage.”
“It was just a joke among our unit,” said Melchiori, an Aurora native. “Spring is mainly for offense and defense to fine-tune things, go over fundamentals and get better. We work on our special teams drills at the beginning of each period. After that, it’s pretty much sit back and watch. So when we have a day like [Thursday], it’s like our Super Bowl, our day to be rock stars.”
If that’s the case, then Melchiori should be in line for a Grammy Award after making a couple of 52-yard field goals to help the Blue Team defeat the Gold Team 24-21 during the annual competition.
Sophomore kicker Brad Miller, who filled in admirably last season when Melchiori was sidelined for a month with a pulled hamstring, nailed two 45-yard field goals for the Gold Team, including one that tied the score 21-21. But junior reserve kicker April Goss gave the Blue Team the victory with a chip shot from 20 yards.
All jokes aside, Melchiori understands the importance of every practice, regardless of the time of year.
“Spring camp is just as important as fall camp,” he said, noting he feels 100 percent healthy after finishing last season playing at about “60 to 70 percent” healthy. “We try to keep it as repetitive as possible. The more repetitive you keep it, the more second nature it’s going to come. Once it becomes second nature, you’re able to do what you need to do once you’re called upon.”
With Melchiori, Miller, fifth-year senior punter Andrew Horning and long snapper Chad Bushley all in place for the upcoming season, the biggest question mark on special teams will be who will handle return duties for the Flashes with seniors Dri Archer and Luke Wollet gone. In the mix are local sophomores Nick Holley (Toledo), Will Woods (Cleveland) and Ernest Calhoun (Akron/Buchtel).
“The returners and every position on the inside are all up for grabs,” KSU coach Paul Haynes said. “It’s nice to see guys who usually aren’t in the same spots out here competing. But when it comes to [Melchiori], his leg is really strong and he’s healthy. We just have to work on his accuracy.”
Women’s boot camp
KSU strength and conditioning coach Antoine Sharp is hosting the Flashes for Fitness 2014 women’s boot camp for three upcoming Tuesdays: April 29, May 6 and May 13 from 6-8 p.m. in the Fieldhouse. The camp includes strength training, cardio workouts and circuit training. Cost is $120 for all three days or $50 per day.
Spring radio show
The Flashes Spring Football Show on WHLO (640-AM) will take place at 6 p.m. Monday at Water Street Tavern. The public is welcome to meet the team’s coaching staff at 5:30 p.m., then stay to watch the live show. Haynes will discuss the team’s spring camp as well as look ahead to the 2014 season. In addition to mingling with the mascot Flash and KSU cheerleaders, there will be giveaways and prizes, including a signed football helmet.
Stephanie Storm can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Indians blog at www.ohio.com/indians. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/SStormABJ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/abj.sports.