Football / Sports

Punting remains an issue for football team; Richie Hogan earns start Saturday

The football team has yet to find a bona fide starter at punter seven games into the season.

Junior Richie Hogan started the first five games for Central Michigan, but the coaching staff decided to go with senior Curtis Huge the last two.

The staff made another change after Huge’s 13-yard punt in Saturday’s 41-30 loss against Ball State, putting Hogan in to kick the last two punts.

“At some point, one of these two guys has got to do what we need done,” assistant head coach and special teams coordinator Kyle Nystrom said. “And it’s not like we’re asking them to do something that only the guys that play on Sundays can do. We’re just asking them to kick the ball high and far and to a place on the numbers where we need it.”

The Chippewas are averaging 38.1 yards per punt this season, ranked 11th in the Mid-American Conference.

“You can’t reward failure,” Nystrom said. “I don’t care if it’s division I, II or III.  You have to reward people that do the right thing on a consistent manner, and if somebody can’t do it or fail to do it, they’re going to be standing next to us, and we’ll put someone else in there.”

After Hogan’s performance against BSU, head coach Dan Enos said he will get the starting nod against Akron Saturday.

“They’re going to continue to compete,” Enos said. “Richie came in and did a good job, so he’ll get the first crack at it on Saturday, and we’ll go from there.”

Huge said the main thing the coaches are looking for right now is consistency.

“Right now, we’re both battling,” he said. “It’s every day. The coaches are really pushing us to try and take it to the next level, and I’m just trying to come out and show consistency.”

Despite being locked in a tight position battle, Huge said the competition level has remained healthy.

“Hogan and I get along really well,” Huge said. “We help each other a lot and push each other every day. It’s not about ‘I want to play, and I don’t like him; we just want the best way to help the Chippewas win a football game.”

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