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August 09, 2011

Oh, snap

Went to media day, came away with a story on the long snapper. Problem?

    I may be biased, but I think it's an interesting story -- and really, aren't we all sick of the same things every year out of media day? Is it worth 25 inches (800 words)? Mr. Solari informed me that the entire history of long snapping can be done in 15 inches. He may be right, but maybe we just don't appreciate the intricacies of the art. The long snapping subculture demands respect.

    So here's more on long snapping:

    Mark Staten on what makes a good snapper: “You don’t care if your name is ever known. I think that’s the key thing about being a good snapper. A tremendous work ethic. You also need to understand it’s like riding a bike. You get on that bike the same way every single time. Try to get on the bike differently and it feels awkward. And a snapper has to have his progression where he does it the same every time. And should he change one little bit it feels odd for him. And that’s the key to snapping.”

    Mike Tressel: “The main thing, really, as long as you have a certain level of ability, the main thing, especially for short snapping for field goal, is a willingness to put in time with the holder and the kicker. If you can get those three guys putting in countless hours, they’re gonna get good together and there’s gonna be confidence together. We have a couple long snappers with us now that that’s all they do and they are willing to put in extra time on their own. Whatever Conroy, whatever Muma asks for, they’ll put that in. So I believe them working together is gonna make it good.”

    Steve Moore, who worked this summer with a snapping coach in Milwaukee, and at a specialists camp in Alabama with MSU's kickers, on taking the "head down" approach: “I already have enough speed as it is, so I figured I could sacrifice a couple tenths of a second – or hundredths I should say – to get more accuracy, because that is the most important thing.”

    As mentioned there by Tressel, the guy who snaps on field goals is technically called the short snapper, but it's all under the umbrella of long snapping. Todd Anderson is pushing Moore at short snapper, so we'll monitor this carefully as camp continues.

    And we haven't even started talking about the holder. It appears Brad Sonntag is the leader there, with several others including Andrew Maxwell taking reps. As Moore tells it, replacing Aaron Bates in that role will be difficult.

    “Easily, I would say, the best holder in the Big Ten (last year)," Moore said of Bates. "His spots were right on. Always had the laces up. Absolutely great.”

    Looking for something more traditional? OK, here are some notes including all the latest on Jerel Worthy's arm ink and the 14th commitment for 2012.

    Also, Kevin Fowler got some great shots from the second day of practice. I don't know about you, but I'm not getting in Dan Conroy's way if he's coming at me full speed with that expression on his face.



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Joe Rexrode
MSU Sports Reporter

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