Penn State punt team still searching for answers

Punting has been an issue for Penn State all season.
Rich Barnes/Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

After his Penn State football team suffered a big disadvantage in field position thanks in no small part to punting problems at Ohio State, coach James Franklin said he might hold tryouts on campus in State College. 

Tuesday he told reporters back in Pennsylvania instead he will just work on getting better performances from the players he already has on his roster. 

“We got two guys that have shown the ability to do it in practice and do it in practice pretty consistently,” Franklin said of Chris Gulla and Daniel Pasquariello. “We got to get them to translate that to the game and compare game situations last year to game situations this year. 

In Columbus, Gulla averaged 36.2 yards on his four punts while Pasquariello averaged 35.3 on three tries. Neither of them kicked a touchback, but only once did they pin the Buckeyes inside the 20. 

On the season, neither of them have averaged 40 yards per punt, and they have combined for seven out of 44 being downed inside the 20. 

“It's not a physical thing,” Franklin said. It's a mental thing. It's confidence. It's having an SOP, a standard operating procedure, of how they do things all the time, over and over again, the routine of it.” 

After noting college teams are at a disadvantage to the NFL because they rarely have kicking or punting specialist coaches, he chose to take a positive outlook. 

“We just got to keep kind of doing what we're doing and stay positive with those guys and have conversations with them and surround them with conditions of success,” Franklin said. “It's no different than anything else. They'll come out of it because they physically have shown that they have the ability to do it. Right now it's getting over the hump mentally.” 

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