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August 8, 2013

Wil Baumann returns to punting basics




NC State junior punter Wil Baumann knew he needed to go back to the basics to make an improvement in his production.

Baumann averaged 38.9 yards on 74 punts his sophomore year, which was an increase of 1.4 yards per attempt.

Baumann did have his best individual performance in the 17-16 upset win over Florida State. He punted seven times for an average of 43.0, and had three fair caught. Baumann averaged over 40.8 yards per punt in six out of the 13 games.

The 6-foot-6, 190-pound Baumann earned raves his freshman year for pinning 21 punts inside the 20-yard line on 65 attempts. He punted nine more times his sophomore season, but fell to 16 inside the 20.

"I really don't think about that because it's more about where you are hitting the ball from," said Baumann on his ability to stick the football inside the 20. "The big thing is not to get many touchbacks. That doesn't help with field position."

Baumann and junior kicker Niklas Sade went about their business during spring practices. Baumann's long right leg got a workout in the Kay Yow Spring Game April 20 at Carter-Finley Stadium. He punted 11 times for an average of 41.6 yards, and landed three inside the 20-yard line.

"I've been working on my hang time and get my distance off, and change my form a lot this spring," Baumann said. "I'm just trying to stay confident and hit a better ball."

NC State's Eddie Faulkner and Clayton White are the new co-special teams coordinators for the Wolfpack.

"I think mentally will be the biggest jump for me," Baumann said. "From my freshman year to my sophomore year, I trained hard. I really focused on some things, but they weren't too effective. Now, I'm talking to my coaches and working hard."

Baumann was able to have 37 of his punts fair caught last year, and another five went for touchbacks. Naturally, he gets asked about the punt that did get return, when UNC's Giovani Bernard went 74 yards for a touchdown to win the game 43-35 on Oct. 27, 2012.

"He made a good play and that's a credit to him," Baumann said.

Baumann's punting coach happens to be Bill Renner, who is the father of UNC senior quarterback Bryn Renner.

"I've been working with before my senior year in high school [at Wilmington (N.C.) Hoggard]," Baumann said. "I've kind of gone back to him this spring to go over some things. That's where the big changes have come for me.

"I'm really going back over my fundamentals. I kind of lost that my first year here. It's just being focused and confident in everything you do. It's about achieving perfection."


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