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Redshirt freshman kicker Michael Schreiner is prepared for the high-stakes journey at UMass

(Jong Man Kim/ Daily Collegian)

Often, the kicker on a football team gets forgotten.

Cast aside while the other position players spend a large chunk of action on the field battling for points, a kicker doesn’t have a whole lot to do during the course of a game.

There are kickoffs and extra points, sure, but unless the opposition makes an incredible play in that time, the attention is almost never on a football team’s kicker.

That is, until it is.

Massachusetts redshirt freshman kicker Michael Schreiner found this out in a hurry during his second-ever collegiate contest against Coastal Carolina.

Trailing CCU 31-21 with 11 minutes remaining in the game, Schreiner got his first opportunity to show off his power on a 33-yard field goal attempt.

Unfortunately for the young Minuteman, the ball sailed wide-left of the uprights.

“It felt real good coming off my foot, it just went left,” Schreiner said. “[Being my] first kick ever, I had to get used to the timing and going out there being on a short clock.”

Placekickers are one of the most relied upon players on a football team—whenever they are called upon for field goal attempts, the situation is usually very important.

Knowing this, a kicker has to be mentally strong, so that any misses don’t haunt them for the rest of the season.

“Just having that [first kick] under my belt now, it’s good to know,” Schreiner said. “We’ll make the changes and I’ll be ready to go for the next kick. I’m as ready as ever.”

As one of the more unique positions on a squad, kickers generally must start earlier in their playing careers than others, to get the most time practicing the tricks of the trade.

Schreiner’s amateur career was no different.

“You do it long enough, through middle school, high school—you just have to stay calm and stay confident in yourself,” he said.

In case Schreiner ever does need some guidance in the kicking game, he won’t have to look too far, as redshirt senior kicker Logan Laurent is half teammate, half roommate.

“He always gives me tips here and there—when you have to be a little more focused and when you got to make sure the reps count—so he’s been a good influence on me for sure,” he said.

Coming out of Webster, New York and a successful stint at Thomas High—highlighted by a 2015 regional kicker of the year award—Schreiner noted the value his redshirt season last year had on his development.

“Having that year was big,” Schreiner said. “I got used to college kicking, how fast you have to be, and how you have to kick.

“Coming into this year, [I’m] a little more confident and know what’s expected of me,” added the 6-foot, 230-pound swingman. “Making the transition from college to high school hasn’t been much of an issue.”

With the remaining slate of games on the horizon, Schreiner knows he’ll probably be asked to deliver a few kicks to help UMass out. Whether it’s to extend a lead or to aide in a comeback effort, he’ll almost certainly see his number called soon.

Prior to that happening though, Schreiner hopes to build a solid routine that will help him contribute when everybody’s watching.

“I guess for any kicker, [the goal is] to be consistent,” Schreiner said. “To kickoff well, to kick my field goals, to not miss extra points. It’s the goal as a kicker to be consistent and that’s what I’m going to strive for.”

Ryan Ames can be reached at rames@umass.edu or on Twitter @_RyanAmes.

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