Tinius back at it

1 09 2010

After missing most of fall camp with what he called a hamstring injury, Western Kentucky junior kicker Casey Tinius has been back on the field this week and will handle the placekicking duties Saturday at Nebraska.

Tinius – who was chosen by his teammates as a team captain last week – went 14-for-19 on field goal attempts during his first season as the team’s first-team kicker.

This season could be a big one for the former Bowling Green High School standout, and now that his early injury setbacks are behind him, he says he’s ready to roll.

“I’m feeling really good now,” Tinius said. “I felt like I was really letting the team down not being able to get out there and do my job for two and a half to three weeks – I can’t wait to get out of here and get to Lincoln.”

Tinius wasn’t called on much early last season, but during the latter half of the year, he got plenty of work in – including a four-field goal performance at Louisiana-Monroe.

With a full season of experience under his belt as a No. 1 kicker, the former two-time Kentucky All-State honoree is hoping to elevate his game to the next level.

“I think this could be a big (year),” Tinius said. “I told the team the other day that I feel like I let us down last year by missing a couple field goals that could have either put us ahead, the one at Louisiana-Monroe that would have tied the game (hurt), and the phrase I told them was that I have unfinished business with everybody. I feel like I could have done more last year.

“My goal is to be the best kicker in (the Sun Belt Conference) and once I get there, I want to work at being one of the best in the country – but I’ve got to start with beating the over guys in the league first.”

Jakes calm and ready

WKU quarterback Kawaun Jakes told reporters Wednesday that one of his main goals Saturday will be to help keep his huddle calm against what will likely be the top defense the team faces all season.

Jakes said that it’s important to make sure the team remains focused and loose through both the good, and the bad, on Saturday.

“We’re focused and we’re ready to play, we’re ready to see somebody else,” Jakes said. “I know I just have to lead, we need to stick with each other and just play football.

“I think with my attitude, I’ve been really trying to be focused – but I realized that I need to start loosening up and be more relaxed for the other guys, not be so nervous.”

When asked what he feels the team will be most confident in this weekend, Jakes replied with a general response – and a bit of a tug at perhaps WKU’s most talented (and protected) player so far this season.

“We just want to do what we do, just have fun and play football,” Jakes smiled. “And get the ball to Bobby Rainey.”

Crowd noise workout

The Hilltoppers practiced inside Houchens-Smith Stadium on Wednesday with artificial crowd noise blaring through the speakers in preparation for Saturday’s game at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb.

WKU coach Willie Taggart – who wasn’t available to the media Wednesday – had said last week that the plan was to do as much as possible to prepare the team for a rowdy environment on Saturday.

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