football

Top 25 Countdown: Matt Wile

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TheWolverine.com Analyst Phil Brabbs: "The past few years, Wile was always that emergency fill-in at punter, but it was never his gig. And now, you're suddenly handling kickoffs, punting and practicing field goals too because you're the long-range guy and the backup, and that wears on you physically and on your psyche.
"It took him awhile to figure that all out, but if you look at his games towards the end of the season, that's when he became most consistent. The interesting thing was as his punting improved, we saw some shakiness in his field-goal kicking. He missed a few down the stretch when he had been almost automatic previously in his career.
"Doing 2/3 of the kicking game already, he's proven himself a gamer and has really developed the mental preparation it takes. There is no doubt next year he wants to be the guy that takes over for Gibbons, but I don't know if it's the best thing for him or for the team to try to do all three.
"Whether Will Hagerup comes back or they develop Kenny Allen as a punter, you'd be better off just asking Matt to be the placekicker and kickoff specialist and not all three."
Sneak Peek at 2014: Wile will almost certainly handle field goals now that Gibbons has graduated. He will probably remain the kickoff specialist also. Michigan has not announced Hagerup's status, but even if Hagerup does not return, it is unlikely the Maize and Blue would ask Wile to do all three.
For the past three seasons, U-M has enjoyed consistency at the placekicker position. Gibbons converted 44 of 55 (80.0 percent) from 2011-13, and Wile must prove he's capable of connecting on 75.0 percent to stave off any competitors. He's certainly capable, but he's never been the full-time kicker before and it will be a role he must adapt to. He looked shaky at times down the stretch, but he should benefit from going into the offseason knowing he's the guy.
Top 25 Countdown
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