Last year Logan Cooke learned moments before the opening kickoff against Texas A&M that he would be making his collegiate debut due to an injury to Devon Bell.
Bell is back this season but Cooke is still splitting the punting duties with him this fall.
“This year I’m more calm because I understand what’s going to happen to a point,” Cooke said.
Cooke punted 50 times for a 43.2 yard average in 2014 and hopes to put up even better statistics as a sophomore. During the season opener against Southern Miss, the 6-foot-5, 216-pounder punted twice for an average of 46.5 yards.
“Consistency is the key,” Cooke said. “Last year I was just in there trying to do my job. Now I can get in there and do my job at a higher level. As a freshman, a 42 or 43 yards punt was good but now I’m trying to up the ante and be the best I can be.”
Cooke has also been experimenting with an Aussie punt as well and is anxious to debut it in the right situation this year.
“We’ve pretty much got it down pat,” Cooke said. “I’m just ready to use it in a game.”
Cooke continues to battle with Bell for kickoff duties as well. Last year he kicked off 54 times with 15 going for touchbacks.
The Darbun native also tried his hand at a fake punt and field goal last year, neither of which went well. Cooke was picked off during the Auburn game and his 42-yard field goal try at Kentucky sailed wide left.
“I get ragged a lot about that pick,” Cooke said. “But there were a bunch of factors that went into that. The field goal job, that was something coach (Dan) Mullen and I talked about in-depth the week of Kentucky. I got thrown into it a little bit but I should’ve done my job.”
Cooke does like trying different things on the football field. After all, the former Columbia Academy standout did more than just kick at the prep level.
“I played quarterback and wide receiver in high school so I miss the football side of it,” Cooke said. “Anytime I get to do that I enjoy it.”
The Bulldogs were not looking to take a punter in their 2014 class but after Cooke spent two days on campus attending camps he had convinced the coaching staff otherwise.
“Going through the recruiting process and looking at schools, my prayer throughout the whole deal was that God would open the doors that needed to be opened and close the one that needed to be closed,” Cooke said. “Low and behold, he closed about every one of them except State. It worked out and I’m perfectly happy here.”