April 14, 2011
Editor's Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa's Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- To say that University of Iowa placekicker Mike Meyer's first year of college was a whirlwind might be a bit of an understatement.
Meyer, who hails from Dubuque, Iowa, joined the Hawkeye football team as a walk-on last fall. Since then, he earned the starting kicking job as a freshman, connected on 14-of-17 field goal attempts, earned a total of four awards and was placed on scholarship.
Not a bad way to start your college experience.
"It was a dream come true coming here and playing my first year," said Meyer. "It was exhilarating."
Meyer jumped into the kicking battle last fall with Daniel Murray and Trent Mossbrucker, eventually emerging as the No. 1 kicker. His career started by handling all the kickoff duties in the first three games, before taking over PAT and field goal responsibilities for the final 10 games.
"When I came in, they said if I work hard there might be a spot if I earn it," said Meyer. "I wasn't used to all of the kicking, but I got through it. It was a great learning experience. It was a good feeling. It didn't really hit me right away."
Iowa didn't attempt a field goal in the first three games of the season, but Meyer had his first attempt against Ball State. He missed a 37-yard field goal, but responded by drilling 10 of his next 11 attempts, including seven in a row over a six-game stretch. That included a 4-of-5 performance against Indiana with a career-long 42-yarder, which earned him Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week honors.
Even though Meyer had a solid freshman season, he is already looking to the future.
"You can't really think about the past right now," said Meyer. "It's everything going forward."
This spring, Meyer is once again entrenched in a positional battle with Mossbrucker for the starting kicker position.
"The competition is great," said Meyer. "I love kicking against him, and we are making each other better. There will always be competition, and it will only make us better."
Fans might think that workouts for special teams players might differ from the rest of the team. Meyer disagrees.
"I have the same workouts as everyone else right now," said Meyer. "It's more of a less quantity... more of a quality thing."
Meyer is also working hard on his mental approach during spring practice.
"I need to be more mentally prepared and focused on every rep," said Meyer. "Mentally, you have to be there every time. Knowing the steps and being ready for every scenario you can put yourself into. When you go back, you always want to see the ball going through (the uprights) or a good kickoff."
With added confidence and a stronger mental approach, chances are Meyer won't have to wait three games into the 2011 season for his first chance to put three points on the scoreboard.