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OwlBytes: 2024 FAU Spring Practice April 2nd - Kickers & Punters & Notes

The Owls began their fourth week of Spring Practice at the Schmidt practice fields throughout a bright and sunny Tuesday afternoon.

For today, the kickers and punters will have the spotlight.

Below is a quick glance at the makeup of the positions for the Spring.

Key Returners: Morgan Suarez (R-Jr. 5-10, 180), Logan Lupo (R-Jr. 6-0, 190), Nick Salmon (Jr. 6-3, 215), Robert Hammond (R-Fr. 6-1, 165)

Key Losses: Carter Davis

Newcomers: None

With day nine of spring practice having concluded, here is the eighth of our parliament Owl position previews, beginning with two names from the kicking and punting units, and some notes from today's media availability.

Through The Uprights

  • Expected to Lead Morgan Suarez: Suarez returns with the determination to reclaim his starting job after an injury last summer kept him for the entire 2023 campaign. Before the injury, he made nine field goals in 13 attempts throughout 2022, winning C-USA's Special Teams Player of the Week after making three in the season-opener against Charlotte. He has performed solid throughout spring camp with his kicking strength and accuracy, so it is possible that he may return as the starting kicker heading into the 2024 campaign this fall.

  • Keep An Eye On Logan Lupo: Lupo (pictured above) has shown he can switch between kicking and punting, the former being something he did more frequently last year due to Suarez's season-ending injury. He played in all 12 games last year, converting five out of eight field-goal attempts for the Owls, his longest being for 37 yards against UTSA last October. It may be tough for Lupo to take the starting spot from Suarez if he's returned to his form pre-injury, but he'd serve as a solid backup kicker for the Owls. Then comes Robert Hammond III. He may be on the outside looking in, but he has impressed special teams coach Chad Lunsford (pictured top) throughout spring camp so far. He redshirted last year, coming out of Cardinal Gibbons High School where he was named 7A Second Team All-State in 2021 and earned 2022 2M Honorable Mention All-State honors. He also owns the consecutive-extra point made record with 57 throughout his time there, so there is a chance he can rise in the depth chart by continuing to wow his coaches throughout this spring.

Inside the 20

  • Expected to Lead Logan Lupo: Lupo leads as a standout punter for the Owls. He shined bright with his punting ability, completing 54 punts for a total of 2,374 yards, his longest being for 71 yards. With his excellent performance against Tulsa, where he made two field goals and four punts for an average of 51.8 yards, he became the first FAU player to earn AAC Player of the Week honors. With Nick Salmon competing with him to be the starting punter, Lupo will have to show he's improved himself from last season throughout spring camp.

  • Keep An Eye On Nick Salmon: 2023 was an adjustment period for Salmon (pictured below), traveling from Australia all the way to South Florida in the United States. He mainly served as the holder for the Owls in special teams, getting his chance to punt three times. His punts combined for 106 yards, his longest being a 44-yarder last October against UTSA. With one year of adapting to life in the U.S. under his belt, it wouldn't be out of the imagination to anticipate a more composed and calm Salmon when he gets his chances to punt for FAU.

OwlBytes for April 2nd

  • Getting His Job Back Morgan Suarez's answer about his motivation for spring camp after fully recovering from injury was crystal clear: reclaiming his starting spot as the top kicker. "I really can't thank the people who helped me enough…the athletic training room, coach Joey (Guarascio) and his staff obviously, coach Lunsford and coach Herman for believing in me and still allowing me to have my spot on this team," Suarez said. Special teams coach Chad Lunsford said it's great to have Suarez back in the rotation because it now enforces competition among the other kickers. "You see a hunger in Morgan now…and that's pushing Lupo and Robert Hammond. I think there's a great competition going on for that field-goal kicking job," he said.

  • Adapting to American Football Nick Salmon feels that he's in a better spot with a full year under his belt of playing American football after coming over from Australia. "Coach Lunsford's been great with me coming here. It's been really positive and encouraging. He gets it because the last punter here was also Australian, Riley Thompson. So he understands and it's been good," Salmon said. Lunsford noted the change in Salmon from last year, seeing how he got used to opponents running at him during punts. "You see a little bit of difference with him now of being a little more confident back there. I think the punting battle between him and Lupo is going great this spring," he said.

Video Play

Special teams coach Chad Lunsford, punter Nick Salmon, kicker Morgan Suarez, and long snapper Nicholas Marino headline Video Play.

After taking a rest for Wednesday, the team will be back on the field for Thursday's session.

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