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Sunday, June 16
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

Punting problem plagues IU

Cameron says quarterback position is not the highest priority; Randle El to start in punting

All eyes remain on Antwaan Randle El and Tommy Jones this week, following a poor offensive performance in the season opener against North Carolina State. During and since the game, commentators and fans have wondered aloud if the new offensive plan would work.\nBut quarterback, coach Cam Cameron said, isn't IU's prime concern.\n"I know the number one thing we've got to solve is our punting problem," he said. "I can promise you. It doesn't matter who your quarterback is. You are not going to be able to overcome our punting performance in that last game."\nRyan Hamre punted the ball so poorly against North Carolina State that he's dropped from first to middle-of-nowhere on the depth charts.\nAfter having two punts blocked -- one for an NC State touchdown -- Hamre lost his job to Randle El against the Wolfpack. Randle El averaged 35 yards on three punts in that game, upping the team's punting average to 19.6 yards.\nRandle El is slated to start at punter against Utah, while freshman kicker Bryan Robertson and senior J.R. Drummond may also punt.\nRandle El, who already returns punts on top of playing receiver/quarterback, said he's got the hangtime down but doesn't have much distance.\nHe's not working too much on it, either.\n"When I say practice, I get two or three punts and that's it," he said. "I don't stay out kicking forever. I've got to punt it 30, 35 yards and let it hang for a while. Kicking it far and high, that's something you've gotta work at a whole lot.\n"I'm not going to mess with my technique. I'm just gonna keep kicking it. Whether it goes end-over-end, as long as it goes far and high, that's all that really matters."\nTweaking the charts\nPunter isn't the only position change the Hoosiers made in the past two weeks. Several players have slipped down the depth charts, while others have changed positions.\nDefensively, senior Kemp Rasmussen will start at defensive end against Utah. Rasmussen spent last season as an end but switched to defensive tackle this past spring. \nIn the secondary, junior-college transfer Willie Northern won the free safety starting spot from Ron Bethel this week, but Cameron has already said that at least six defensive backs will rotate at the four safety and corner positions.\nThe biggest offensive change is at receiver, where Travis Haney and L.J. Parker became the 1-2 split ends, respectively. Against the Wolfpack, Henry Frazier and Glenn Johnson were the top two split ends. Rashon Myles, a fullback, is getting his first start as well.\nNo tomorrow\nTommy Jones said everything is back to normal with IU's football routine, little more than a week after the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington disrupted college football along with everything else in the nation.\nBut the attacks did serve as a reminder.\n"A lot of people take life for granted, things like that," Jones said. "We go out there and practice, we're not guaranteed tomorrow. Before this happened or after, you're never guaranteed tomorrow.\n"You just gotta go out and make the best of it. I think guys are starting to see that more now and realize we can be a good team. We've gotta go out there, work hard and play together, and it will come"

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