BOGACZYK: Hands Down, Vedvik Foots Big Role for Herd
The Word on the Herd-April 23, 2016
By JACK BOGACZYK
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – One of the more important players on Marshall’s 2016 football team never threw or caught a pass or rushed for yardage on a chilly Saturday morning at Edwards Stadium.
And it wasn’t because Coach Doc Holliday and his staff limited some veterans’ reps or held out others due to injuries for the second spring scrimmage.
Redshirt junior Kaare Vedvik is the heir apparent as the punter and place-kick holder, where Tyler Williams provided more than consistency for the last four and two seasons, respectively, at those positions.
Vedvik brings a strong leg to the punting job, albeit it one that really hasn’t punted except in Herd workouts. And as a holder, the 6-foot-4 Norwegian is getting to display the kind of hands he once hoped would make him a college wide receiver prospect as a junior-year exchange student at McPherson High School in Kansas.
Williams’ success from 2012-15 provides Vedvik with an impetus. The former Herd punter set school records for single-season and career yardage average. And of his 211 career punts, Williams placed 69 inside the 20, with only 24 touchbacks. Consistency was Williams’ hallmark.
He also was something of a mentor for Vedvik, whose strong-legged reputation was rooted in kickoffs and long-distance field goals in kicking camps.
“Honestly, I really don’t feel pressure,” the personable Vedvik said after Saturday’s scrimmage. “I just go about my business and focus on my goals and what I want to achieve. I don’t think about what’s been before me or happened before me.
“I’m happy for Tyler doing how great he did, and I just want to do my own thing here now and see how well I can do it.”
Vedvik, a native of Stavanger, Norway, kicked during his one high school season in Kansas, but never got to use those large hands at wideout. The Herd staff found him through a kicking camp video, and he arrived on campus with a scholarship during August camp in 2013 and then redshirted.
In 2014, Vedvik handled 98 kickoffs for Marshall’s Conference USA championship team when 2013 kicker Amoreto Curraj was out with a back injury. Last season, Curraj returned, and Vedvik was Williams’ unused backup and the Herd punter-in-training.
“In Kansas, I mainly did kickoffs,” the 22-year-old Vedvik said. “We only attempted about four field goals, and I kicked extra points, but I didn’t punt. I had like two punts, but I never knew how to punt, really.
“I tried to punt before in kicking camps, but that was never my thing. My sophomore year here at Marshall (2015) is when I really started to focus on punting, trying to become fundamentally sound.
Vedvik also has had to master the task as holder. Williams worked for four years with four-year long snapper Matt Cincotta, who also has graduated. Now, Vedvik is working with the Herd’s new snapper, redshirt freshman Zach Wood, who was picked as Special Teams Player of the Week on Saturday.
“Holding is just repetition,” Vedvik said when asked about using those hands he once hoped would receive forward passes. “It’s just doing it over and over and over again. Honestly, I think it took me about a week to learn it.
“From there, it’s just repetition … for the holder and snapper to be on the same page and the rhythm has to be on with the kicker. All three of us have to be on the same page, so it’s all about that fluidity, staying in rhythm.”
Vedvik said a new holder and punter working with a new snapper might be easier than trying to break in with someone who is established.
“I guess, yes, you can say that,” he said. “But the big thing is, as long as we just keep working together and figuring it out together, getting it right, that’s all that matters.”
Holliday certainly has noticed.
“The one thing I really like about Vedvik is that he's done a great job holding," Holliday said earlier in camp. “That's part of what we had to replace because Tyler was not only our punter, but also our holder. Vedvik has come out and gotten that done, which is good.”
He fielded a couple of “grounders” Saturday that he lifted, set and straightened for successful field goal attempts. Although he’s pointed toward a rookie season at both jobs, Vedvik brings the poise you would expect from someone heading toward his fourth year in the program at Marshall, where he is an International Business major.
He said that although he didn’t kick in a game last season, it didn’t feel like a long time since he was on the field.
“Honestly, no,” he said. “My mind’s been so busy on this new punting thing that’s it’s just been a race. I picked it up, and I found where I want things to be and I feel like I figured it out, to an extent, so it’s feeling sometimes like it’s flown by really fast.”
Vedvik has had plenty of time to figure out his new roles, and now he’s focused on the opportunity.
“The keys in punting … It’s staying short in my steps, floating my drop out and the drop is key, a real key,” Vedvik said. “If you overstride, your drop will be off.
“It’s all there in those things, so it’s being consistent in what you do, be fundamentally sound in that everything you do – every time – is the same. Never change up your steps. Never change up your drop. Everything has to be the same. That’s the hardest part, for sure.
“Coaches at (kicking) camps always told me I’d be a natural at punting if I could just get it down. I was doing field goals and kickoffs because that’s what I had always done. I never thought much about punting until I realized we needed someone to take over after Tyler. Really, I never thought I’d love it like I do.”