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One-on-One with the Pirates
, August 30, 2011

By Ron Cherubini

Q&A with Ben Ryan

By Ron Cherubini
All rights reserved.

When former East Carolina punter Matt Dodge graduated to the NFL two years ago, the Pirates were left without a real punter on the roster. So, the team turned to the guy who lost the battle for the placekicker position. Ben Ryan had been a starting placekicker before, filling in for an injured Ben Hartman a couple of years ago, so he had the mental edge to contribute to the team’s overall success. Ryan, who had never been formally trained in punting, picked up the football and started booting it.

While his average of just shy of 40 yards per kick was not earth-shattering, it was noteworthy that Ryan did not have a punt blocked and had success killing the ball inside the 20. He also was an effective kickoff specialist. So, this year, Ryan has a body of work, now, to build on. He expects to be the frontline punter and kickoff specialist.

Ben was kind enough to sit down for a chat with Bonesville to share his insights on the upcoming season.

Ben Ryan (12) in action (ECU SID photo)

One-on-One with Ben Ryan

Q: Last season, you completed the journey from placekicker to punter and did a pretty good job of it. You also handled kickoff duties. How are you feeling heading into 2011?

A: I feel a lot more comfortable this season. I hadn’t punted (before last year), so I was learning. I think I am very comfortable in game situations and because (of the experience) the pressure is less.

Q: Heading into spring and summer, where were you most focused on improving your skills?

A: Looking back, I could have done a lot better. I know that expectations are higher this season, so I went to a few camps this summer… which I had never done before. I got a lot of instruction and have worked on correcting my technique. Also, I focused on how to practice right.

Q: Describe the relief you have for having your deep snapper back. Talk about that

A: You know, we are co-dependent and have to trust one another for our success. (William Smith) is a third-year starter and he is good. We came in one semester apart and are in the same graduating class. He is a big reason (for no blocked kicks) last year.

Q: How is the kickoff work going?

A: Honestly, I have been more focused on the punting. I have always done kickoffs and was always more comfortable doing it. I haven’t made many changes in terms of the kicking off (techniques). I am excited about seeing what more strength will mean in (the kickoff aspects of the game).

Q: You mention the increased strength. Can you talk about Coach Jeff Connors’ impact on you personally?

A: Coach Connors absolutely has it down. He knows exactly how to train and work with kickers. He focuses on each player’s needs and is very, very good at getting results.

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Ron Cherubini Archives

08/30/2011 04:28 AM


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