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Thread: The second time around

  1. #1
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    The second time around

    The second time around
    Friday, July 18, 2008
    By Jason Seidling

    Steelers.com
    http://news.steelers.com/article/91111/


    As it turned out, the media thought more of what Daniel Sepulveda accomplished as a rookie than he did himself.



    Every season the local chapter of the Pro Football Writers’ Association presents the “Joe Greene Great Performance Award” to the Steelers’ rookie of the year. Punter Daniel Sepulveda won the award last season after finishing ninth in the NFL in net average (37.9 yards) and eighth in punts inside the 20-yard line (2.



    Statistics that lead to winning awards would make most players pleased with their individual performance. However, that was not enough to satisfy Sepulveda’s high expectations for himself.



    “I didn’t perform up to my potential, that’s for sure,” Sepulveda said as the Steelers were completing their offseason program. “I just know that I can do better than that. You look at the numbers that we put up at Baylor as a punt team, and those were better than they were here last year.”



    Sepulveda’s final statistics might have been less than what he was accustomed to posting, but judging by the numbers, that could have been the result of him hitting the proverbial rookie wall.



    During his first eight NFL games, Sepulveda averaged 44.4 yards-per-punt and 38.7 yards in net average. Once the season hit the halfway point, Sepulveda’s numbers dropped to 40.4 yards-per-punt and 37.1 yards in net average.



    So then, are there definite statistical barometers that Sepulveda uses to evaluate his own personal performance?



    “I don’t really want to quantify it like that, but I know that 42.5 was certainly not the gross that I was looking for,” he said. “We ended up at 37.9 net, which is pretty solid as a rookie, so I was pretty happy with that.”



    Another factor that might have made Sepulveda’s transition to the pro game more difficult was the condition of the footballs used in the kicking game by the NFL as compared to those allowed by the NCAA. Sepulveda, however, was not willing to use the balls as an excuse for not meeting his own expectations.



    “I don’t think it’s really that hard of a transition to be honest with you,” said Sepulveda. “I still think that you can kick the college ball farther, but if I had a choice I would take the NFL version because it has a little more girth to it and it is a little bit more round.”



    Sepulveda, the NCAA record-holder with 94 career punts of 50-plus yards, expects to take a big leap forward during his second NFL season. At Baylor, Sepulveda improved from his freshman to his sophomore seasons, and so he believes that knowing what to expect will help his game.



    “People always talk about the improvement that takes place in the second year of a player’s career, and I can definitely understand first-hand why that happens because there is so much to deal with during that first year,” said Sepulveda. “Granted, I still haven’t gone out there and shown that improvement yet, but I can tell you that I feel more comfortable now than I did a year ago.”



    That mind-set should make the Steelers feel comfortable about what their young punter can accomplish in 2008, because the last time Sepulveda had a year of experience under his belt he went out and won the first of his two Ray Guy awards as the top punter in the NCAA

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  2. #2

    Re: The second time around

    That mind-set should make the Steelers feel comfortable about what their young punter can accomplish in 2008, because the last time Sepulveda had a year of experience under his belt he went out and won the first of his two Ray Guy awards as the top punter in the NCAA

    While I expect him to improve this year as well(or at least not regress), but punting in the Big 12 in good weather areas like Texas and Oklahoma for a team (Baylor) with no post-season aspirations, is quite different than Punting in Pittsburgh in November and December with the stress of a playoff run.

    I don't care about his punting averages, the telling number is number of punts inside the 20, so as long as that stays the same or improves-- I will be happy.
    He who forgets, will be destined to remember.

  3. #3
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    Re: The second time around

    Quote Originally Posted by BigLebowski
    That mind-set should make the Steelers feel comfortable about what their young punter can accomplish in 2008, because the last time Sepulveda had a year of experience under his belt he went out and won the first of his two Ray Guy awards as the top punter in the NCAA

    While I expect him to improve this year as well(or at least not regress), but punting in the Big 12 in good weather areas like Texas and Oklahoma for a team (Baylor) with no post-season aspirations, is quite different than Punting in Pittsburgh in November and December with the stress of a playoff run.

    I don't care about his punting averages, the telling number is number of punts inside the 20, so as long as that stays the same or improves-- I will be happy.
    That's something I kept trying to point out to some of the dufuses on the other board.

  4. #4
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    Re: The second time around

    I guess he was worthy of a 4th round pick. I look forward to watching him improve this season.

  5. #5

    Re: The second time around

    Quote Originally Posted by stlrz d
    ...

    I don't care about his punting averages, the telling number is number of punts inside the 20, so as long as that stays the same or improves-- I will be happy.

    That's something I kept trying to point out to some of the dufuses on the other board.
    Sometimes I wondered if some posters on that board actually watched the Steelers on Sundays, or if they just play Madden on Sundays and just watched the highlights on Sportscenter.

    Common Sense should dictate to anyone that since the purpose of the punt is to gain field postion, punts inside the 20 should be the stat most looked at.
    He who forgets, will be destined to remember.

  6. #6
    BIG FAN
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    Re: The second time around

    I am ok with the improvement, pinning them back inside the 20, is good by me, still waiting though to see him smack a returner.

  7. #7
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    Re: The second time around

    Quote Originally Posted by BIG FAN
    I am ok with the improvement, pinning them back inside the 20, is good by me, still waiting though to see him smack a returner.

    That will be sweet!

  8. #8
    BIG FAN
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    Re: The second time around

    Quote Originally Posted by kennyes
    Quote Originally Posted by BIG FAN
    I am ok with the improvement, pinning them back inside the 20, is good by me, still waiting though to see him smack a returner.

    That will be sweet!
    We kept waiting for it last year but it didn't happen.
    Could have definitely used it when a returner catches the ball inside the ten, and nobody gets a hand on them!
    Good display of humility by the second year man though at the award.

  9. #9
    Pro Bowler Jigawatts's Avatar
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    Re: The second time around

    Quote Originally Posted by BigLebowski
    Quote Originally Posted by stlrz d
    ...

    I don't care about his punting averages, the telling number is number of punts inside the 20, so as long as that stays the same or improves-- I will be happy.

    That's something I kept trying to point out to some of the dufuses on the other board.
    Sometimes I wondered if some posters on that board actually watched the Steelers on Sundays, or if they just play Madden on Sundays and just watched the highlights on Sportscenter.

    Common Sense should dictate to anyone that since the purpose of the punt is to gain field postion, punts inside the 20 should be the stat most looked at.
    I'm not the biggest X's and O's guy, but I tried preaching and preaching that. I think
    some people would be happier if he boomed a 55 yard punt out of the end zone than
    pin the opposing team on the 3 yard line.

    Now, if Sep justs works on booming them when we need it, that's a heck of a fourth
    round pick.

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