September 1, 2004
ATLANTA--Junior transfer Ben Arndt will be Georgia Tech's starting punter in Saturday's season opener against Samford and Albany's Kyle Belcher is expected to handle the kick offs.
Georgia Tech head coach Chan Gailey made the announcement after Wednesday's practice.
The naming of Arndt means that Tech will have three new faces in the kicking roles, along with redshirt freshman placekicker Travis Bell and true freshman Kyle Belcher, who is expected to kick off. "
All three of the guys that will handle the kicking chores in Saturday's game have never done it," said Gailey. "There's no relief yet. Relief is when they do it in games and are successful."
A native of Young Harris, Ga., where he attended Union County High, Arndt spent two years at Tusculum College, an NCAA Division II school in Greeneville, Tenn.
In 2002, he punted nine times for a 39.7-yard average with a long of 42 yards.
Arndt enrolled at Tech in 2003 and then joined the football team as a walk-on last spring.
All preseason, Gailey and his staff charted the punting candidates, including senior Andy Thomson, who shared the job last year and averaged 39.8 yards but was inconsistent at times.
"The key was consistency. Consistency and avoiding the 's' word (shank)," said Gailey.
Thomson will be the holder on placements.
The veteran of the specialists is senior long-snapper Andrew Economos, who has held the position the last two years.
"That is one of the most overlooked, underrated positions in football," said Gailey of his very efficient snapper.
"The only reason it ever gets noticed is if you don't have one or he makes a bad snap. I think Andrew made the comment 'I hope this is the only time I get interviewed all year,' the other day when he got interviewed. Normally, the only time they talk about you or to you is when something bad goes wrong as a snapper. "He is excellent at his job and is good enough to maybe go to the next level as a long snapper."
Georgia Tech will host Samford at 1 p.m. Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium. The game is not on television.
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