Waunakee kicker hopes to make impression on UW

Freshman in running to do kickoffs this fall
Waunakee kicker hopes to make impression on UW

The University of Wisconsin football team has had solid kicking and punting the last number of years.

But this year, with Philip Welch and Brad Nortman gone, there are position battles on special teams. Drew Meyer of Hartland seems to have the inside track to be the punter, while Kyle French will likely handle field goals.

But Waunakee’s Jack Russell is in the running to do kickoffs. Russell has experience kicking at Camp Randall. He nailed a 48-yard field goal in Waunakee’s state championship win last November. He’s kept his number seven, but now he’s wearing red and getting used to life in college football.

“Camp is going really well,” said Russell. “It’s a lot of kicking, like I expected, but I’m just taking it one day at a time and want to get better every day.

“So far, it’s going well,” said Russell. “Details matter. Every single kick is charted – you really have to take every kick for what it’s worth. You can’t take one off.”

Kicking in a high school game is one thing, but kicking in a college is something else. He hasn’t kicked in a college game yet–but Russell says even kicking in college practice takes some getting used to.

“I remember the first field goal I kicked,” said Russell.” I was a little nervous, but it happened so quick that you really don’t have time for nerves to kick in so you just go out there.

“Before every kick I say a little prayer and then I try to clear my mind and not think about it and just do what I do, I guess,” said Russell.

“Being able to play in those state games and you know, come out here and play a couple of games here –that’s just a warm-up I’m guessing to what it’s like to play in front of 80-thousand fans so it’s going to be exciting.”

The Badgers open their season Sept. 1 against Northern Iowa at Camp Randall.