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Ohio punter Paul Hershey (left) and kicker Matt Weller pose for a picture at Peden Stadium yesterday. Hershey and Weller are focal points of Ohio’s special teams unit, one of the team’s stronger areas for the past few years. (Alex Goodlett | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)

Football: Weller setting records only halfway through his career

He toes the turf, takes three precise paces backward and two careful steps to his left. He clears his mind.

And then he strikes with his right foot.

That sequence could describe two people: Chuck Norris, and Ohio place kicker Matt Weller.

Weller, a redshirt junior from Twinsburg, Ohio, tied the Bobcats’ all-time field goal record when he hit a 34-yard boot against Marshall Saturday, the 38th of his career. He later notched his 200th career point, becoming only the fourth Ohio player to accomplish that feat.

But Weller is not preoccupied with all of the nifty statistics. He prefers to focus on Paul Hershey’s hand as the punter places the ball in his path. In fact, he did not realize he had a chance to tie Kevin Kerr’s field goal record until he glanced over some pregame reading material before the Marshall game.

”I actually found out about it as I was browsing through the program for the game,” he said. “I knew it was somewhere close going into it, but I wasn’t exactly sure.”

With almost half his collegiate career in front of him, Weller will inevitably smash Kerr’s kicking record and will take a run at Kareem Wilson’s all-time scoring record of 302 points.

Unlike many other Bobcats, Weller required little tutelage since he came to Athens. He perfected his form at a number of kicking camps, including Kohl’s Professional Camps, which helped promote him during the recruiting process.

Weller is not only a productive scorer but an accurate one, as well. He tied Kerr’s record despite attempting nine fewer field goals.

Weller is 38-for-50 as a Bobcat and is on pace for the second-highest field-goal accuracy in program history.

His reliability has allowed special teams coordinator Pete Germano to focus on other players during practice.

“To be honest with you, he was given a lot of God-given ability, and I really don’t do a lot of coaching,” Germano said. “He’s a self-motivated kid who had a lot of coaching and did a lot of camps and saw kicking gurus prior to ever getting here.”

One area where Germano does help Weller is in the kickoff department. He charts the kicker’s hang time and distance to target any possible improvements in his form.

Weller handled kickoff detail his freshman season but was limited because of a hip injury during his sophomore campaign. He has once again resumed

kickoff duty.

“I definitely think I can improve in that area,” Weller said. “In this day and age, you need to be as marketable as possible, and being able to do both will be crucial to making the next step.”

That next step is the NFL, and Weller has the better part of two seasons to polish his resumé. He already has enough leg to make long field goals. His longest in a game was a 52-yarder against Ball State in 2009, but he has connected from as long as 65 yards while “just playing


“I do enjoy the long kicks. It seems like there’s not much pressure since they’re so long,” he said. “If the coaches line me up for a 75-yard one, I would never say no.”

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