University of Missouri

Missouri kicker Andrew Baggett might also be Tigers’ punter next season

There’s a long way to go before the Sept. 5 season opener against Southeast Missouri at Memorial Stadium, but Tigers coach Gary Pinkel acknowledged Tuesday that it’s possible that senior Andrew Baggett (99), a Lee’s Summit North graduate, will handle kickoff, field-goal and punting duties this season.
There’s a long way to go before the Sept. 5 season opener against Southeast Missouri at Memorial Stadium, but Tigers coach Gary Pinkel acknowledged Tuesday that it’s possible that senior Andrew Baggett (99), a Lee’s Summit North graduate, will handle kickoff, field-goal and punting duties this season. The Kansas City Star

Andrew Baggett may pull double duty for Missouri this season.

Baggett, a Missouri senior and three-year starter at kicker, currently sits atop the depth chart at punter as well.

There’s a long way to go before the Sept. 5 season opener against Southeast Missouri at Memorial Stadium, but Tigers coach Gary Pinkel acknowledged Tuesday that it’s possible Baggett will handle kickoff, field-goal and punting duties this season.

“It’s certainly a possibility,” Pinkel said. “He was our backup punter a year ago. We’ve got some people coming in, so we’ll see where that goes. … That’s an area we’ve obviously got to solve by the end of August.”

Baggett, a Lee’s Summit North graduate, is ready for the challenge.

He took reps as a punter at every practice last season as a safeguard in case then-senior Christian Brinser suffered an injury.

“I wasn’t emphasizing punting by any means, but I’m just a competitive, so I wanted to be a good punter,” Baggett said. “In practice, I would try to get better and work at it.”

Baggett leaned on Brinser for advice the last few years. If he was having trouble getting his punts to turn over properly, he’d seek out Brinser.

“That’s been since day one, even with Trey (Barrow) when he was here …,” Baggett said. “We’ve all always worked really well together, trying to better one another all around all the time.”

Baggett worked some on directional kicking when he pulled double duty in high school, primarily punting the ball away from the return man when possible.

It’s a little more complicated at the college level, but Baggett feels comfortable.

“We do a lot of different schemes that way it kind of keeps people on their toes,” Baggett said. “I have to be able to perform all those.”

Pinkel doesn’t seem concerned about Baggett’s ability to handle the added workload.

He admitted field goals are pretty straight forward, but punting — with the Tigers’ directional kicks, half-rollouts, “sky punts” and other nuances — is a bit trickier.

“You have to be mature enough to be able to separate the two and be able to focus on all the details on each one,” Pinkel said.

Missouri signed Franklin (Tenn.) punter/kicker Corey Fatony to a scholarship in February. He won’t arrive on campus until June, but ideally he’d push Baggett for the starting punter job.

“Corey’s a phenomenal punter,” Baggett said. “I’ve seen him in person. I’ve seen his film and stuff like that. I’m not a guy who’s like, ‘Well, I want to be the starting punter, so I’m not going to help you.’ He’s going to come in, he’s a young guy that has a lot of potential, so I’m going to help him as much as possible. I want to compete together, not compete against each other. That’s how I am with everybody on the field.”

“We’ll let them compete and see where it goes,” said Pinkel, who said there could be a few walk-ons in the mix as well.

Injury report

▪ Senior safety Cortland Browning and senior offensive lineman Brad McNulty returned to practice Tuesday as Missouri resumed spring football practice after a week off for spring break.

Browning, who had screws inserted to repair a Lisfranc fracture in his right foot, and McNulty, who is rehabbing from labrum surgery, practiced in a limited capacity.

▪ Sophomore wide receiver Nate Brown (knee) remained sidelined, but he is still expected back before spring practice ends.

▪ Junior running back Morgan Steward (hip) and freshman safety Tavon Ross (torn ACL) are sidelined for the spring.

▪ The only addition to the injury report was sophomore tight end Austin Ray, who suffered a broken finger during a scrimmage before spring break.

To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to tpalmer@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @todpalmer.

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