When Peter Fardon stepped out onto the field earlier this month he was fighting for a job that had been in the hands of one man since 200. A.J. Principie, UB's leading scorer piled up 265 points over his four years in Amherst and in doing so became UB's all time leading scorer. his work dwarfs the points put up by James Starks or Naaman Roosevelt. Two hundred and sixty five points is more than any two Bulls, who sit out side the top ten in UB's record book. That is what UB lost when Principie graduated last season.
Fardon, who hails from Australia, was already locked in something of a battle with Peter Schum for the teams punting slot. The Australian kicker spent the past three seasons putting his own name into the UB Record books as a punter. He is eighth all time in total punts, seventh in total yards, and sixth in average per punt. What was shaping up to be a slightly interesting off season changed when both of UB's remaining kickers left the program shortly after the season ended.
With two kickers lost to graduation and two others moving on to other schools Fardon stepped up to give incoming place kicker Patrick Clarke some competition while at the same time trying to win a spot as UB's featured punter.
Replacing AJ Principie will be no small feat. Especially since the two players competing for the job are a three year punter and an incoming freshman. Historically UB has had pretty dependable place kicking inside the 35 and if the Bulls want to win their any close games this season then they will need one of these two players to step up into that role.
Peter Fardon: Fardon had his eyes on the place kicking job long before UB's returning kickers transferred out. What looked like a desperate move by Quinn, after an unexpected departures, turns out to be something that may have been in the works before the final whistle of the 2010 season.
"Last year, he said, 'Coach, I want to have that opportunity to be that place-kicker for us and I'm going to work on it.' For a head football coach, those are great young men to have in your program" Coach Quinn
Fardon played Australia rules football for Brisbane Grammar School where he also ran track, and played cricket. Later he played played for the Western Magpies an Australian Rules Football team that won the championship in 2005 and 2006.
All indications are he won the battle for the job. Fardon was the only kicker on the roster this spring and thus took all the reps. The mechanics of place-kicking are similar to rugby once you get past the snap and hold.
Patrick Clarke: Was a late commit to UB after spending a year at the prep level. He was a factor in Hargrave Military Academy's undefeated 2010 season. That earned him a spot in the national championship combine he went 10-for-10 on field goals between 30 and 52 yards.
Clarke, on film, looks to be the future of UB kicking. Coach Quinn is firm in his belief that red shirts are not given out until the season is over. So in the event that the kicking game lacks the needed consistency Clarke may get his shot this season.
Place Kicking Outlook:
Fardon has looked great this summer but there is a world of difference between game day and scrimmage kicking. Expect a difficult adjustment in the place kicking game for at least the first few weeks.
Jacob Schum: Fardon's other battle this camp is with fellow Senior Jacob Schum. Schum averaged 38.5 yards per punt, including 13 fair catches and 13 inside the 20. Early in season he was all over the place but he did eventually settle down for the season.
Last season, his junior year, was his first as a Bull. He played two seasons with the Division III Buffalo State Bengals.
Schum looked better as the year went on but expect Coach Quinn to switch out the punters again as the year goes on. Last season there seemed to be little rhyme or reason to the decision process. Both punters got used from all over the field with Schum getting more than twice the reps of Fardon.
If Schum comes in playing like he did towards the end of the season expect him to get the lions share of the work again, especially if Fardon is doing the place kicking. With Schum having one year under his belt UB's punting should be slightly better than last season.