August 28, 2006

Pettrey, Pretorius part of OSU kicker fraternity

It's something that has become as much a part of Ohio Stadium as "Hang on Sloopy" and the Victory Bell.

For the past four seasons, Buckeye football fans have filled the air with chants in support of the team's kickers. What started in 2002 as the "Nuuuuuuuuge" chant for kicker Mike Nugent continued on last season when fans would serenade Josh Huston with a hearty "Huuuuuuuuuu" on kickoffs and field goals.

In turn, the kickers provided the Buckeyes and fans with top-notch performances. The two of them made 87 of 102 field goals during the past four seasons combined and Nugent captured the Lou Groza Award, awarded to the nation's best kicker, during his senior season of 2004.

As the 2006 season gets closer, it's a different situation. The kicking job is wide open, with redshirt freshman Aaron Pettrey and sophomore Ryan Pretorius vying for the job. While the chants that went with Huston and Nugent might no longer echo through Ohio Stadium, their legacies are still being felt by the new kids on the block.

"They made it pretty tough (on us)," Pettrey said. "But I'm still good friends with them. I talk to them about pressures and what they think."

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