Michigan Football Preview 2013

2013 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 168 of 267

that. I start out with the ball on the 38 and move back. Right now, 45 is pretty far, but I want to get to the point that, if the ball is on the opposite 48, I can do that punt and get it inside the 10." On regular punts, which he will take over this year, Wile has also made big strides. When kicking punts, Wile breaks down his performance into three categories: an A ball, a B ball and a C ball. A balls have a hang time of 4.5-plus seconds and travel at least 45 yards; B balls have at least 4.0 seconds and travel 40 yards; and C balls are anything less. By his own estimation, Wile kicks four to five A balls and five to six B balls every 10 attempts. A C ball is a rare occurrence. Showcasing The Big Leg Wile kicked a 67-yard field goal off a oneinch tee in practice as a high school senior. His personal best sans tee (which is not allowed in college) is a 63-yarder. The Michigan coaching staff has decided to split the field goal duties between fifthyear senior Brendan Gibbons, who hit 16 of 18 attempts last year, and Wile, who will take the longer ones. The cutoff is about 50 yards, give or take three yards, depending on conditions. Wile hit his first-ever attempt, trotting out to bomb a 48-yarder in the Wolverines' 12-10 win over Michigan State last season. "I was not totally prepared," Wile said. "I knew we were kind of close to that range, because I take over when it's a little longer. But that was 48 yards, and I still thought that was Gibby. "But they called me. I was a little nervous. I took my steps back, got set and took one deep breath. After that, I don't know what's going on around me. My mind goes blank. After I kicked the field goal, I didn't want to freak out. I didn't know what to do, so I just ran off the field. I left [holder] Drew Dileo hanging. I hit the sideline, and I realized, 'Oh no, I have to thank him!' I turned around to give him a hug. He always gives me crap for that." Ortega, who watched the kick on television, called Wile the next day to congratulate him. "I was just thrilled," Ortega said. "He basically hadn't kicked a field goal in that situation in two years. They sent him right out there, and he drained it. It would be like a pinch hitter that hadn't gotten an at-bat all year, and all of a sudden, they say, 'Go hit a three-run homer.' He's tremendously valuable for them." The Wolverines will almost certainly deploy Wile's monster leg this coming season. And in 2014, after Gibbons' graduation, every kicking responsibility on the team may fall to Wile, depending on whether Hagerup returns from suspension for his fifth-year senior season. It's a lot of work, but Wile is happy to do it. "It is hard to prepare for everything," Wile First-And-10 With Matt Wile First Car He Drove: "A 1991 Honda CRV." First Concert He Attended: "Blink-182. After their pink album, they decided they were going to break up. Their last concert was in San Diego, because that's where they're from. I got to go to that. I was a huge fan — I had every single album." First Major Sporting Event He Attended: "It was probably when I was 5, and I was on the field with my dad for a San Diego State game. We used to go to a lot of Chargers and Padres games." First Loss That Made Him Cry: "In my freshman year of high school, we lost the semifinal game of the playoffs. It was raining cats and dogs, we were on our fourth-string quarterback and we lost by a touchdown. I was playing JV linebacker and kicking for varsity, but I had gotten a stress fracture in my back, but I still wanted to kick. I would kick and then hobble off the field. That one was heart-wrenching." First Wolverine Hero: "Zoltan Mesko. I have met Zoltan, and he's a great guy. My family is big on education, and he went to the business school. He came from Romania, taught himself English. I think that's an amazing story." First Class He Took At Michigan: "I took a general elective psychology class the summer before my freshman year. My first semester of the fall was terrible. I took programming and absolutely hated it. That was not for me." First Autograph He Asked For: "Marshall Faulk. They were retiring his jersey at San Diego State. My dad had a friend who let us use his box seats when he was on the field. I looked over to the box next to me, and there was Marshall Faulk. We knocked on his door, and someone took our hats and programs and they come back out signed. My aunt Mel said, 'Can you tell Marshall that these are for Dr. Wile's kids?' My dad had done surgery on Marshall, /we're headed back to our box and all of a sudden, his door bursts open and it's Marshall Faulk. He starts signing our foreheads and hanging out with us." First Team He Played For: "The Cardinals, a little league team." First Rival He Hated: "Bishops. We met them three years in a row in the city championships, and we beat them twice. My last year, they beat us by a touchdown." — Andy Reid Wile averaged 48.0 yards on three attempts after taking over full-time punting duties in the Outback Bowl last season. photo by per kjeldsen said. "I have a problem with overkicking, so I try to be careful about how many reps I do. If I am going to go out, I'm not going to kickoff, punt and kick field goals. "I will do punting and field goals on the same day, sometimes. But if I'm going to work on kickoffs, I never do anything else. For me, one kickoff is the equivalent to eight punts or five field goals. You have a 10-yard run up, and I kick the ball so hard with my right leg that I fly through the air and land on my right leg." "Kickoffs take a lot out of you. They're stressful on your body. After games, my back is always sore from kickoffs, but I can manage. I'm not out there hitting people all the time, like the other guys. I have to manage my reps to make sure I get everything I need. I make it work." ❑ The Wolverine 2013 Football Preview  ■ 167

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