While it’s hard to make major assessments about most new players in a season-opening game against an opponent like Memphis, punter Baker Swedenburg made a definite impression in MSU’s 59-14 win Thursday night.
For starters, there was his Tebow-esque jump pass on that ill-fated fake punt. Wasn’t his fault it didn’t work.
Aside from that, the sophomore had a terrific debut, averaging 41.4 yards on five punts with a long of 52. That 52-yarder was the most impressive, as the ball hit around the 1-yard line and took an MSU bounce; it was downed at the 3.
Four of Swedenburg’s punts were downed inside the 20, two inside the 10. So it seems MSU might not miss Heath Hutchins too much (and Heath was better last year than his raw numbers indicated).
“It feels amazing,” Swedenburg said after the game. “Like I said earlier, I didn’t know what to expect, but I felt comfortable back there. And it’s just a great feeling of relief.”
Swedenburg later took to Twitter to express his gratitude, saying, “The Lord is too good to me. Thanks to all for the amazing support.”
Remember what I wrote recently about winning the field position battle? If Swedenburg can remain consistent, MSU should fare well in that area. And he was consistent, with the other four punts traveling 31, 33, 51 and 40 yards. Those shorter punts were kicked inside the 50 and pinned Memphis at its own 13 and 5, respectively.
As for that fake punt, well, coach Dan Mullen had some choice words for the special teams coach.
“Yeah, fake punt was a call. Not a very good one,” he said. “I don’t know. I may get after whoever coaches those darn special teams, I’ll tell you that much.”
(FYI to those who might not know, Mullen is special teams coach.)