Spring Football Profile -- Kirk Yliniemi

April 10, 2003


Saturday's scrimmage will consist of approximately 40 plays, according to head coach Mike Riley. Riley stated he doesn't want to lose a 'learning day' for the sake of a scrimmage. He also stated he is unsure at this time how he will conduct the scrimmage with regards if the first unit will go against the first unit, etc...

For a guy who didn't figure to be statistically a prominent member of the 2002 football team in the preseason, placekicker Kirk Yliniemi was a major contributor.

The senior from Monmouth, Oregon, was selected honorable mention All-Pac-10 Conference after making 15 of 16 field goal attempts and 45 of 46 point-after-touchdown attempts. He was the conference's Special Team's Player of the Week after booting three field goals in the victory at Stanford.

Yliniemi added to his awards with his classroom performance, earning membership on the second team Pac-10 All-Academic squad and being selected to the Verizon District VIII Academic second team.

The double major attended Central High School in Independence, where he lettered in football, soccer, and baseball. He was a first team all-state placekicker as a senior and set the state playoff record with a 52-yard boot vs. Hidden Valley.

The following is a question and answer with Kirk after a recent spring practice:

Q. What do placekickers work on during spring ball?

A. 'We work on our consistency. It's also a time for the younger guys to get valuable practice. Overall, spring practice isn't that much different than the fall.'

Q. What were/are your goals during the offseason?

A. 'I really don't have any goals during spring that are different from any other time of the year. I just want to develop consistency and be ready for the fall.'

Q. Have you extended your basic range as a kicker?

A. 'I feel like my leg has become stronger since the end of last season. I'm kicking well right now, and yesterday (Tue.) I hit a 50-yarder with ease.'

Q. Do you approach the upcoming year differently knowing that you are the incumbent kicker?

A. 'It will be a little different from the fact that I'm finally on top of the depth chart when the season starts, but at the same time that doesn't really guarantee me anything if I'm not making kicks. John Dailey and Brent Wismer are going to push me and make me continue to improve.'

Q. When you look back at last year, are you surprised about how the season unfolded for you?

A. 'I wasn't really surprised by how it unfolded. The beginning of the season was a little tough because Ryan (Cesca) and I didn't know who was going to kick which field goals. At the beginning of the year we would both look at Coach Erickson and wonder who was going to get the call - it is easier mentally knowing that you are the guy.

Q. Your holder on kicks (Seth Trimmer) has graduated, do you have a replacement?

A. 'Carl Tobey has worked with me for a couple of years and he is probably going to be the holder. John Millar also has done a nice job as well. But, it will be a change regardless without Seth.'

Q. What has special teams coach LeCharls McDaniel told you with regards to your ability and what he expects?

A. 'Coach McDaniel has made it clear he wants us to be the best at everything we do. He's made it known that if this team wants to be among the best in the nation that all aspects of special teams are crucial. Coach McDaniel's has been a very good addition to the program.'

Q. Can you practice in the Indoor Center, and if so, what challenges does the building present?

A. 'We can practice field goals, but it's the punting that presents a problem. The only real problem with field goals is that the net moves, so the goal posts are moving as well. It's a bit more of a challenge.'

Q. How can individuals succeed in the classroom as a student-athlete?

A. 'You really have to set priorities and stick to them. School and football are first on the list. It's nice to find some time to relax, but at times that can be really tough.'

Q. How close are you to completing your coursework in construction engineering and what are your goals for the future?

A. 'I'm actually double majoring in construction engineering and business management. I'm not completely sure what I want to do, which is why I'm double majoring. I will graduate from business at the end of fall term and I still have about a year-and-a-half in the construction engineering program.'

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