Rethinking Diamond Stud
First things first. Diamond Stud clearly does not have what it takes to be a placekicker at the D1 level. He's got a strong leg, he's a good practice kicker, and I have no doubt that he'd excel at a D2 or D3 level with far less pressure, no crowd noise, etc. But the fact is that, while the guy has talent, he is a headcase. These are college kids out there, and extra points are not quite the gimmes they are in the NFL--one miss a season is acceptable. Three misses in two games is not acceptable. It is clearly past time to remove Diamond Stud as BC's placekicker and replace him either with walk-on Steve Aponavicius, or with true freshman Billy Flutie. Whatever promises TOB made regarding the starting kicking job, when you are the coach of a sports team at the D1 level you have made an implicit commitment to everyone on your team to do whatever it takes (obviously within reason) to win. Breaking a promise to one kid is bad, but it is preferable to breaking a promise to 85.
That said, those who are calling for Diamond's scholarship to be revoked and for him to be booted off the team are mistaken. For one thing, you can't just do that to a 20-year-old kid mid-season. But additionally, field position is very important in college football--especially when you have a coaching staff that insists on playing not to lose, even against vastly inferior opposition--and Ohliger is one of the better kickoff guys in the country.
Another thing to consider is the fact that the top-rated high school kicker in the country, Billy Bennett of San Diego, will be an Eagle next season. However, the punting situation beyond 2007 is a huge question mark. No punters have been added in the 2007 class, and it remains to be seen whether Flutie is The Guy until 2009 or 2010 at that position.
So here's a radical suggestion for TOB and the coaching staff. Yank Diamond Stud as our placekicker immediately and replace him with either Flutie or Aponavicius (preferably Flutie, as he likely has more upside). That should go without saying. Keep Diamond Stud on kickoffs. But start bringing him aside in practice and let Johnny Ayers, who has developed into a very capable punter, give him a crash course in that position. In 2007, redshirt Diamond Stud, let him practice as a punter full time, and pencil him in as your starting punter in 2008. This buys you some extra time to recruit a punter for 2009 and beyond.
It's not as outlandish as it sounds. We know that Diamond Stud has a strong leg, and because whatever psychological issues fuck up his placekicking do not generally affect his kickoffs, it is unlikely that they would affect him as a punter either. Additionally, it is likely that he punted in high school (most high school kickers, especially in places like Delaware, do not specialize). He has the physical tools, and after half a year of part-time practice and a year of full-time practice at punter, in addition to his probable high school experience, he should be at least a reasonable punter.
Look, it's possible that he can't punt at all and that this would be an absolute disaster, but the great thing is that if it is, you find out well before you send him out there in a game situation. Why not give it a shot, TOB?? What do you have to lose??