Bucknell DL Josh Eden blocks way to a record
Drive forward on the blocker, turn sideways and extend an arm to get a hand on the football.
Josh Eden's methods for trying to block a kick sound so simple, but they've yielded record-breaking results.
Bucknell's junior defensive lineman has an FCS-record eight blocked kicks this season - and there's still one more game to play, Saturday at Patriot League rival Holy Cross.
Just as impressive, Eden broke the mark in a 31-7 home loss last week to Colgate by blocking three extra points, tying a single-game record.
Those 5-10 minutes a day in Lewisburg spent on blocking kicks at practice since the preseason have paid off. Eden proudly calls his success a result of a team-wide effort.
''It's something we focus on, something we've grown to expect. ... It's all about pride for us,'' Eden said Thursday afternoon in a phone interview before practice. ''It's all about pride for us.''
The blocked kicks record covers punts, extra-point attempts and field goals. This season, Eden blocked two point-after tries against Dartmouth, a field goal against Pennsylvania and a field goal and extra-point attempt vs. Fordham before his block outburst against Colgate that shattered the old record of six.
His six blocked extra points this season are also an FCS record.
It's not getting any easier, either, as teams become more aware of Eden's special-teams prowess. Bucknell coach Joe Susan has installed a few tweaks from week to week to try to keep opponents off-balance.
''He has the advantage of being a great athlete. His take-off is exceptional,'' Susan said of the 6-foot-4, 265-pound Eden. ''Even though people are aware he's there, we've been able to put him a position where ... he creates penetration.''
Listed as a defensive end, Bucknell typically stations Eden on the interior of the line, next to tackle Robert De La Rosa. Sometimes Eden and De La Rosa will switch places; other times they might take different slants on the ball.
''We'll both drive forward as hard as we can,'' Eden said in describing the general routine. ''I'll turn my body inward, get real skinny, swim over (a blocker) and put my hand up at the same time.''
In a best-case scenario, Eden gets a little help from the opponent, too.
''Normally, if we do everything right, the offensive line pushes me through.''
The blocked kicks are a high point in an otherwise disappointing 1-9 season in Susan's rookie year at Bucknell. The Bison are young at several positions, including freshmen at quarterback and three spots in the secondary.
What makes Eden's accomplishments more impressive is that he missed the previous two years while completing a Mormon mission. He couldn't lift weights during his time away, so it took him a while to get back into football shape.
As one of the team's oldest players at 23, he's a leader on and off the field.
''It comes back to the beginning of the year,'' Eden said. ''The coaches sat the whole team down and said this was a play we were not going to take off.''