Auburn notebook: Tigers' punter got help in tweaking form
by Ryan Black
Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
Aug 01, 2013 | 2028 views |  0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
AUBURN — After being in the running for the Ray Guy Award each of the last two seasons, one could say there isn't much more Steven Clark can improve upon.

But Auburn's senior punter — who finished as a semifinalist for the Guy Award last season and a finalist in 2011 — still found things to tweak this summer, as he and kicker Cody Parkey ventured up to Wisconsin to take part in the Kohl's kicking camp. Much like a golfer working with irons and wedges, Clark attempted to perfect his distance-control at the camp.

"I’ve always been able to get the ball high," he said Thursday as Auburn's players officially reported for preseason practice. "I’m working on being able to control the distance based upon the situations and stuff. I went home and kicked a little bit into the wind back in Missouri, just kind of getting more comfortable with all aspects of the punting game. It’s a continual process, and I don’t think I’ll ever be finished, necessarily. But I’ve made big strides over the summer, and I’m happy where I’m at."

Even before the third-team All-SEC preseason selection attended this summer's camp, Clark said kicking guru Jamie Kohl has "been a reliable source" for both he and Parkey throughout their college careers.

"Just kind of twist his ear every now and then about what he thinks we might be able to do to improve," Clark said. "He keeps an eye on us as much as he can. He’s a pretty busy guy, but he’s definitely been a key part in my success in college."

HOLLAND READY: Strength and conditioning coach Ryan Russell's program has done wonders for the Tigers, Jake Holland said. Not just from helping them get into better shape, but due to the spirit of competition it fostered.

"He gives us goals, the PRs (personal records), that we like to hit," the senior linebacker said. "A lot of people have hit that. That gives you a goal, a platform, to get better every week."

Holland will have to use preseason practice as a platform to state his case for increased playing time. After starting 16 games over the last two seasons, Holland enters practice as the backup to Kris Frost at middle linebacker. In his four years at Auburn, Holland said he couldn't recall a time when there was so much competition among the linebackers unit.

The Pelham native welcomed the challenge it presents.

"I'm looking forward to getting better, going out there and learning from Coach (Ellis) Johnson and winning my spot back," he said.

THOUGHTS OF A FRIEND: Though senior defensive end Nosa Eguae played at Summit High School in Mansfield, Texas — about 25 miles away from Polo Manukainiu, who attended Trinity High in Euless, Texas — the two never faced each other.

They came close on one occasion, though.

"Trinity is a powerhouse," Eguae said. "We were close to them and were scheduled to play them my junior year in the third round of the playoffs. We were both undefeated teams coming in, but we got upset the week before, so we didn't play them."

All Eguae could think about were the people who have been forced to deal with Monday's tragedy, when Manukainiu and two others died in a single-car wreck in New Mexico.

"My condolences go out to his family and everybody that has been affected by that situation," he said. "My prayers definitely go up for him. It's just a tough situation."
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Auburn notebook: Tigers' punter got help in tweaking form by Ryan Black
Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

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