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The Cardinal Countdown: 32 Days Until Kickoff

Pittsburgh v Louisville Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

2021 Season Recap: I’m not breaking any news here, nor am I saying anything that Mr. Turner doesn’t already know…2021 was rough. Getting spoiled by the likes of Creque and Wallace the last decade raised the bar on what we expect from our special teams, and frankly, Turner met those expectations in 2020 as an all-conference caliber kicker. Finishing the year 13-15 on FGs and full Canseco (40-40) on extra points was more than acceptable, especially since both FG misses were 50+yards. But 2021 was simply not at that level. Turner went from a Top 3 kicker in the ACC and a Top 15 kicker nationally to the bottom of the conference, only connecting on 14 of 22 attempts and also missing two extra point attempts. While we know wins and losses are never placed on the back of one player the miss in the Wake forest game, the two misses in the Virginia game, and the miss in the bowl game played a large part in those outcomes (all games decided by 3 points or less) and could have translated to one, two, or even three more victories on the season. We know he can kick the ball, but we just didn’t see him match that level of execution in 2021.

2022 Season Outlook: The 2022 season can go one of two ways for Turner. Pull things back in to what we saw in ’21 and repeat his efforts as a top performer in the ACC, or struggle again and likely lose his starting position to Travelstead. I’ve not given up on Turner and I think he dials it back in this year knowing how he played last season was not his best effort and he is capable of doing more in that role. As an upperclassman now I full expect to see Turner take that next step and get back to leading ‘The Regulators’ as those who’ve come before him. I mean, look at that mugshot above. Does that look like a guy who is worried about banging posts or going wide right, or does that look like a guy who is completely chill and says “relax, brother” on a semi-frequent basis? That stache is whispering sweet melodies into my ear….and it sounds like the pigskin humming Skynyrd while ripping through the uprights.

Sweet Tweet:

This was from a camp back in 2018 but it crossed my mind that these usually have anywhere from 20-50 kickers all gathered together competing and battling it out. We need to come up with a term for a group of three of more kickers together. ‘A leg of kickers’? A boot of kickers’? What do y’all got?


2021 Season Recap: Craig came in last year with an opportunity to get some reps up along the line but the Cards found a nice piece to supplement Yaya off the edge in Mason Reiger. The emergence of Mason allowed Craig to keep his redshirt intact, appearing in only four games (EKU, WFU, BC, NC State) but making an impact play in that limited amount of time and showcasing his burst off the edge, grabbing a sack and a nine yard loss for the ‘Eagles’. The QB went night, night, but it was no Hotel California….

2022 Season Outlook: As expected Craig is penciled in behind Yaya and Mason on the pre-fall depth chart again but will have a shot to move up in the month to come. Even if he doesn’t, I’m excited about a player like Craig being a “third team” level talent with backup potential this early in his career. He’s got good speed out of high school and the staff has already boosted him up 15+lb since he arrived on campus. We can preach it year after year but depth is really the name of the game. Are you one injury away from losing a game or more, or do you have the talent to play ‘next man up’ with very little drop-off? That depth is what allows the Top 10 teams to win 9-10 games year in and year out and not go through the recruiting roller coaster every 3-4 years. Build from within, and have them ready to go when their number is called. I think #32 will be ready when his time to shine comes, whether that is situationally in ’22 or ’23 and beyond.

Sweet Tweet:

Any fish or QB within a 20 foot radius of Ryheem stands no chance. Hook, line, and sacker.