Cobras Stick With Brian Schmitz
Posted June 21, 2001 7:13 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH — The Carolina Cobras chose youth over experience on Wednesday as the club decided to stick with rookie Brian Schmitz as the team's kicker for the remainder of the season. Arena Football League veteran Bjorn Nittmo was released today. The club also placed wide receiver/defensive back David McLeod on injured reserve and signed former N.C. State defensive lineman Jeff Fisher to the practice squad.
Schmitz (6-0, 175, North Carolina) was signed as the emergency kicker for last Sunday's game against the Buffalo Destroyers after Nittmo re-injured his right (non-kicking) knee in practice last Friday. Schmitz was cool under pressure, connecting on 6 of 7 PATs and drilling a 19-yard field goal with four seconds left to seal a 53-44 win.
"I think the wonderful thing about it is that he went through all the nerves and stuff early and settled in and was pretty consistent after that," Head Coach Doug Kay said on Schmitz's debut. "I think he offers us something that you don't see a lot of in the Arena League and that's a really strong leg."
Schmitz, who starred as the Tar Heels punter and kickoff specialist during his four-year career at UNC (1996-99) was one of the top all-purpose kicking specialists in college football as a senior. He was signed as an undrafted free agent with the NFL's New York Giants in 2000 and played in all four of the Giants' preseason games that year, handling the kickoff duties. As a senior at UNC in 1999, he led the ACC in punting and was second in the nation with a 47.8 average. Schmitz attempted just 8 field goals (made 2) during his college career, but earned First Team All-ACC and First Team All-American honors as a punter and kickoff specialist.
Nittmo kicked in seven games this season for the Cobras, netting 47 of 50 (.940) PATs, including a streak of 30 straight. He was the Cobras second-leading scorer with 67 points but connected on just 6 of 22 (.273) field goals. He missed a 31-yarder as time expired that would have tied the game at Grand Rapids on May 11.
The Cobras take on the Houston ThunderBears this Friday, June 22, 7:30 p.m. at the Entertainment and Sports Arena. Tickets are still available and may be purchased by calling any Ticketmaster outlet (919-834-4000) or logging on to www.cobrasfootball.com. For group ticket information contact the Cobras Ticket Office at (919) 281-0400.