Auburn, Ala.--Entering his senior season Auburn kicker Cody Parkey is looking to cement himself as one of the top kickers in Auburn history while also helping the Tigers turn things around following a disappointing 2012.
A backup to Wes Byrum in 2010, Parkey took over the everyday kicking duties as a sophomore and since that time he’s been Mr. Consistency for the Tigers. Fourth in school history in field goal acuracy at 75 percent (24-32), Parkey has made 51 consecutive extra points and is 68-69 in his two seasons as a starter.
Taking on more of a leadership role on special teams along with punter Steven Clark, Parkey knows how tough things can be this time of year for specialists because of two-a-days and constant practices. Because of that he said he’s learned to pace himself while also getting the work he needs to be ready for the season.
“Camp has gone real well,” Parkey said. “The days are long, even for us specialists, but it’s going real well. We’re doing a lot of situational stuff, a lot of two-minute drill field goals and kickoffs and onside kicks. We’re just getting the basics down so we’ll be ready for that first game.”
One of the things that Parkey has worked on since last season is improving his range. Perfect inside 40 yards in 2012, he was just 3-6 from outside 40 yards including his final two attempts of the year against Texas A&M and New Mexico State. Working with Coach Ryan Russell to become stronger, Parkey noted that he’s worked extensively on being more consistent from deep, but not at the expense of his shorter kicks.
“It’s not a huge difference, but I did focus more on 40-50 yards and 50-55 and things like that more than I have been, along with the short field goals as well,” Parkey said. “The majority of my field goals will be from 30-40 yards. It’s important to do both. I would say it’s an equal balance.
“I focused most of my kicks from 40 to 50 yards seeing that those were most of my misses last year,” he added. “It wasn’t anything to do with my distance. I feel comfortable hitting far field goals, it just so happened that those were the ones I missed last year. I have been working on that a lot along with being more accurate.
"Along with hitting 55-yard field goals you have to be hitting them straight," he added. "Coach Russell has our legs stronger than ever so I feel comfortable going into the season with longer field goals this year.”
The strength won’t just help on field goals for Parkey as he enters the season as one of the top kickoff men in the country after winning that competition at the Jamie Kohl camp in Wisconsin over the summer at an event that featured approximately 50 Division I kickers from around the country. Last season Parkey produced touchbacks on 33 of 48 kickoffs after his 38 touchbacks in 2011 were the third-most in the country. The percentage would have been higher, but at times he was asked to kick the ball short of the goal line to force returns.
Much like Parkey got to learn from Byrum his first season, incoming freshman Daniel Carlson will have that opportunity this fall as he learns the ropes of playing in the SEC. Coming to Auburn from Colorado, Carlson has a very strong leg that has already impressed his mentor so far in the preseason and he predicts big things for the kicking game in the future.
“He looks really good,” Parkey said of Carlson. “Like I tell people, he’s got a big leg. He’s a big kid. He’s built like a punter that is kicking pretty much. I would say he’s better than I was my freshman year development-wise. He’s really smooth and I think he’s going to be a good one for Auburn in the future.”
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