Thursday, October 13, 2011
Hokies find help for punting game
By ESPN.com staff
It took until the midpoint of the season, but Virginia Tech -- a program known for its special teams -- has finally solved its punting problems.
Or at least taken an important step forward in getting better.
After the well-documented struggles of punter Scott Demler, the Hokies finally made a change last week against Miami and turned to true freshman Michael Branthover. His first career punt went a season-long 52 yards.
It might have been the first time all season Virginia Tech fans cheered a punt. Virginia Tech enters Saturday’s game at Wake Forest ranked No. 118 in the country in net punting with a 31.7 average.
Coach Frank Beamer is hoping Branthover can help that.
“Yeah, he's our number one punter, and he's a guy that basically, I think, has the strongest leg of any of our kickers,” Beamer said. “We've got really good kickers, and when we get out here -- there's about four of them really. We get out here and kick, we have really good kickers, and at times, any one of them could be your kicker.
“Our thing that's gotten us a little bit is we just can't consistently get it done. When we looked at it, I think Branthover is the one that has the strongest leg and the quickest kick time, so you take those two things, then I think you just right the other things. But he's kicked well this week. He's come back and kicked it well this week. I think he's going to be a really good kicker for us here at Virginia Tech. That's not only punts, but I think kickoffs and field goals, too. He does it all. I think he's got a good future.”