Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


An unsung hero

When most people think of football, they think of star quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers and linebackers. Rarely are kickers and punters considered to be one of the top players on the team.

For FAU, this isn’t the case.

Redshirt sophomore punter Mickey Groody has been one of the bright spots of the Owls’ 2-4 season, showing off pinpoint accuracy and a cannon for a leg. In fact, aside from a mishap against North Texas, the punting unit has been giving opposing teams negative return yards, making the Owls’ punt coverage defense No. 1 in the nation.

“Groody has been getting good hang time on the ball,” said Assistant Head Coach Kurt VanValkenburgh. “He’s been pinning the ball inside the 10-yard line.”

While FAU has suffered a slow first half of the season, Groody and his punting unit have not. Out of 21 punts, nine have been fair caught, and only two have been returned for a positive yard gain.

Groody, who came from St. Thomas Aquinas High School three years ago, was the first kicker to be offered a full scholarship from illustrious Head Coach Howard Schnellenberger.

“I got the feeling that it was a good program, and good things were going to happen,” said Groody.

Good things did happen. Groody went on to punt in the New Orleans Bowl his freshman year, tallying two punts for a total of 80 yards in the 38-34 Owls victory.

In his second season, Groody suffered cracked bones in his foot and was forced to redshirt, missing all of 2008. The injuries also caused Groody to enter this season as the backup punter, but that did not last long.

In the season opener against Nebraska, after incumbent punter Keegan Peterson had disappointed with three feeble punts, Groody came out to boot a 50-yarder. He has been the starter ever since.

Groody admitted that his punting unit has been putting in hours of hard work to achieve this year’s impressive showing, practicing uncountable hours, hitting the weight room and perfecting their techniques. Groody also believes the success of a punter is attributed to his flexibility.

Despite his astounding success this season, the Pompano Beach native is not in it for the glory.

“I’m out there because I want to be out there,” said Groody. “I’m not out there to be talked about. I’m out there to play the game.”

Groody may not be on the field for publicity or fame, but if he can keep his numbers up for the rest of the season, he may have no choice but to begin accepting some compliments.

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