The most anticipated preseason position battle has ended–at least temporarily. Nick Maggio will start the season as Duke’s kicker, head coach David Cutcliffe announced in a statement. Maggio beat out last year’s starter, a walk-on and a highly coveted freshman in Joe Surgan, Will Snyderwine and Paul Asack. Surgan will serve as the Blue Devils’ kickoff man.
After replacing Surgan in 2007, Maggio made 2-of-5 field goals and all 13 extra points. Cutcliffe said he would send Maggio out for all field goals within 45 yards, but was impressed with Surgan’s strong leg.
“Nick Maggio, right now, unless something different happens, will be our starting placekicker, particularly anything with extra points or medium to close field goal range,” Cutcliffe said in the release. “Throughout practice (Maggio’s percentage) has been really good. He’s in the 85-percent range. You can live with that in field goal range, and he’s 100 percent with extra points. Anything of any great distance, we’d certainly go back in there with Joe.
“Maggio has made a couple of 47, 48-yarders, so 45 yards and in, I’m thinking him. Yesterday, Joe made one from 53 that would have been good from 63. He’s a guy that has unusual ability. We’ve got a guy who’s truly a long-range field goal kicker.”
Cutcliffe said he was “encouraged” by the kicking game, if not pleased. Last year, Duke kickers combined for a woeful 3-for-11 clip on field goals and also missed two PATs. Surgan was 1-for-5 before Maggio took the kicking duties.
We’ll try to get out to practice tomorrow to find out more about the kicking game. What else are you interested in?
–by Ben Cohen