IOWA CITY, Ia. – There’s really nothing too scientific about how Mike Meyer earns his Iowa football keep. See ball, kick ball . . .
. . .after his cohorts do their job.
“I’m nothing without them,” one of the most accurate place-kickers in the nation said recently. “Absolutely nothing.”
Meyer’s 10-of-11 accuracy will be relevant during Saturday’s 11 a.m. game at Michigan State if history means anything, history that says three of the past five games in this rivalry could have been decided by a field goal.
“We’re both physical teams, so we don’t expect a lot of scoring,” Hawkeye defensive end Dominic Alvis said. Spoken like a true defender, for sure, but in this respect, as pinpoint an observation as one of Meyer’s attempts.
In the Big Ten Conference, only Illinois has a worse offensive scoring average. They’re 1-3 in total defense, with Michigan State’s 272.3-yard average yield being the conference’s most stingy.
Therefore, Meyer and his buddies could become the most important players on the field – again hoping to make a very intricate part of the game look as easy as James Vandenberg’s 47-yard flea-flicker touchdown pass to an open Jordan Cotton two weeks ago against Minnesota.
It starts with . .
“If anybody’s ever heard of me, then that means I’m probably not doing a very good job,” said Casey Kreiter, the junior long snapper from DeWitt said.
Actually, he’s doing a good job firing the ball back to John Wienke within a couple rapid blinks of the eye.
“Casey usually snaps it pretty fast,” Meyer said. “It’s right around .7 seconds or so. That’s quick.”
The quicker Kreiter gets rid of the ball, the sooner he can start protecting.
“It all happens pretty quickly,” Kreiter said.
He knows what he’s doing; he has been long-snapping his whole life, it seems.
“My dad and I were in the backyard one day when I was a kid – he did it a little in college,” Kreiter said. “He said try snapping the ball.”
He did, and he’s still doing it.
“It’s fun,” Kreiter said, “but it’s nerve-racking at times.”
“Casey and I have a good chemistry,” Wienke said.
Wienke isn’t picky where he receives Kreiter’s missle-like launch, but the optimum strike zone is usually around the chest.
“I understand that things happen through the course of a game,” Wienke said. “I’m always ready for whatever comes.”
He’s ready for the perfect snap. He’s prepared for something off target.
“John’s great,” Kreiter said. “If you watch the video close enough, I’ve thrown some back there that aren’t the best.”
Wienke knows all about hanging loose. He started his Iowa career as a quarterback, and then switched to the short punter role, while adding field-goal holder.
“I long-snapped in high school, actually,” Wienke said. “I’ve done a lot of weird things, but I don’t know if I’ve ever perfected any of them.”
Meyer has a 50-yarder this season, one of four he kicked against Northern Illinois. He enters Saturday’s game having made his last nine. He has 67 PATs in a row.
“It’s all of us,” Meyer said. “It’s Casey and it’s John. It’s the protection – and then it’s me.”
Meyer aims somewhere high and beyond the uprights. He starts his approach as soon as Kreiter snaps the ball.
He doesn’t say a pre-snap prayer.
“I say the same thing to myself before each kick,” Meyer said. “Head down, straight through.”
So far, so good.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football