FIU soccer goalie Robin Spiegel attended this morning's FIU football practice to try out for the kicking job. Spiegel is from Wipperfurth, Germany and has never played American football before. Still, Spiegel displayed a very strong leg making field goals from 50 and 56 yards out as well as field goals from shorter distances.
Under the watchful eye of FIU coach Ron Turner, Spiegel also kicked off and got several kickoffs into the end zone and some inside the 5. On his extra points, and short to mid-range field goal attempts (starting at 32 yards out), Spiegel was launching the kicks into the stands above the patio deck in the west end zone.
However, like anyone that has never kicked field goals before, Spiegel does have to work on his technique. He badly missed some kicks, hooking line drives to the left and other times his kicks were straight low line drives that could easily have been blocked. If you recall, FIU's first kicker Adam Moss was a converted soccer player, who kicked plenty of line drive field goals his first season in 2002 before adjusting to a more traditional field goal kicking style his last three years. Moss was so good in his final three seasons at FIU that he earned the nickname, "Automatic" Adam.
Spiegel also has a sort of Fred Flintstone bowling stutter steps right before he kicks, which affects the timing of the field goal snap and hold, but according to Turner it's something that can be worked on. The end result is that Spiegel has something you can't teach and that's a booming leg.
Usually after practice, the Panthers hurry in to get Gatorade, grab a seat in the ice tubs or shower to go to class, but after this morning's practice Spiegel drew a crowd to watch him kick (photo above), especially after his first couple of kicks hit the seats above the patio deck. One FIU player told me about Spiegel's kicking, "it was almost like hearing the sound of the ball off the bat of a baseball player you stop to watch take batting practice." That's what this Panther said the sound of the ball coming off Spiegel's foot sounds like. Another FIU player yelled to Spiegel, "Congratulations, you have the job!"
Turner liked he what he saw from Spiegel, who will need time to work on his technique. The next step is figuring out if and when Spiegel could help the football team based on his soccer schedule. Stay tuned for that.
FIU receiver Rockey Vann earned the No. 5 Conference USA Top Play of the Week for his 40-yard sideline catch in Saturday's game against UAB. CLICK HERE to see the play. Great photo below by Richard Lewis.