Arizona State may have a kicking unit that has been particularly bad in recent memory, but there is still a bright side to the Sun Devils special teams.
Josh Hubner was named a second-team All-Pac-12 punter and he will be one of the first legs selected in the NFL Draft next week, which means that ASU needs to find his replacement.
Head coach Todd Graham is bringing in freshman Matt Haack as a possible heir to Hubner. Even though he is mentioned as the No. 15 kicker in the 2013 recruiting class, the Iowa product must still win the job.
With Haack not joining the program until August, in stepped junior walk-on, Dom Vizzare for spring practices.
He has a name for football and a hang time the impressed everyone in attendance at the Spring Game, and he left a smile on Graham's face following the scrimmage.
"(I was) really pleased with the punter. (Vizzare) was booming it. For a walk-on punter, we were very, very impressed. He had an outstanding day kicking the football," Graham said.
Vizzare had six punts that afternoon thanks to an offense that struggled at times to move the ball downfield. Fans were used to the Sun Devils going on cold spells offensively, so it is important to have confidence in their special teams.
"I talked to Josh (Hubner) a couple of times and I've been working with him a little bit. Everything he's told me has been helping me out a lot. It's kind of cool seeing what he goes through and how he deals with his agents preparing for the next level," Vizzare said.
Of his six punts, two of them were over 50 yards and four were downed inside the 20-yard line. He averaged 45.3 yards per punt during the scrimmage.
"I definitely did a little better than I expected to. I guess things were just playing into my court. It's always something I want to duplicate and I'm going to keep working to bring that into the season and become the starter," Vizzare said.
The Takoma, Washington native will have some competition with Haack coming to school in the fall, but if he has performances like that, there's a chance that he could be the front-runner to start on Saturdays.
"It's a good experience to come out here and the opportunity is just amazing to be on this football team," Vizzare smiled.
Vizzare played for Scottsdale Community College in 2012 before transferring to Arizona State in the spring. Another thing he has going for him is his 6-foot-5, toned frame because the size obviously gives him better vision, which is sometimes an under-appreciated attribute for punters.
Being a native of rainy Washington, it's not surprising that the transition may be difficult at times, especially with the vast difference in weather and having a formal practice schedule.
It was the Tempe heat that taught Vizzare on what it's like to be a Sun Devil.
"The thing that stuck out most to me is honestly body language. I found out the hard way the first time we did Tour of Duty. I bent over one time and I found out that I'm never doing that again," Vizzare chuckled.
Looks like Vizzare already got a sample of the character building that happens in the Dickey Dome. A little bit of exhaustion never hurts and besides, the spring practices gave Vizzare a chance to bond with his teammates.
Even though it appears the kicking situation may pan itself out in the final weeks of fall practice, Sun Devil fans should be confident that the punting game will be as strong as always.