DURHAM — Duke football hasn't had a lot to cheer about lately. They hope to change that. One thing's for sure: Few if any teams will be able to out kick the Devils. Duke just might have college football's best kicking combo.
It would not be a stretch to say Duke has the best kicking tandem in the nation. Junior Sims Lenhardt was one of three finalists last season for the Groza Award, an honor that goes to college football's top placekicker.
Punter Brian Morton averaged 41.4 yards per punt during his freshman campaign. Now, kicking is a lonely job. You're isolated during practice. While the rest of the team is hitting and sweating, kickers are off by themselves.
"During... two-a-days, I'm a once-a-day kicker," Lenhardt explains. "I don't know if they want me to be a kicker or a punter. If the pressure is on, you've got to provide with a big kick out of the end zone for Brian or for me. You've got to learn to love that kind of pressure. When we come through like that, they really applaud us."
Lenhardt received plenty of applause for his two game-winning field goals last season. Morton, meanwhile, earned his share of "oohs" and "aahs" with his booming punts. Just a sophomore, Morton has quite a future ahead of him.
"Punters are rare. It's like finding a tall, left-handed pitcher who can throw the ball 90 miles per hour," Morton says. "They're rare. I know if I work on it, there might be something out there for me."
It's rare for a team to have one kicking star. Duke has two. If a game is to be decided by a foot, the Devils have a great chance to come out on top.