AMES — Instead of punches, the two combatants in this heated competition trade words of encouragement.
Yep, in one of the biggest camp battles this summer, Iowa State kickers Edwin Arceo and Cole Netten prefer to keep it classy like their favorite news anchor.
When every boot can make or break your chance to start, it helps to stay positive.
“Both of us know it’s a competition,” Netten said. “We take it more as teammates instead of competitors. We are very encouraging with each other. We will help each other. We want what’s best for the team. We both know what it’s like to be a kicker. It’s not easy.”
No one knows that better than the Cyclones after years of inconsistency at the position. Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads is hopeful either Netten or Arceo will steady the spot.
“Both are kicking better than they did a year ago at this point,” Rhoads said.
That’s good news for a team likely to be in a lot of close games.
Talking about practice
Last year, Arceo earned the kicking duties after a strong fall camp. The senior made 12-of-18 field goals and 37-of-40 extra points.
Arceo wasn’t satisfied. He admitted he didn’t concentrate as much on his fundamentals during the 2012 season. Instead, he just went in there and simply booted the ball.
Now, he is constantly working on his approach, making sure its just right.
“I think this year I’m focusing a little more and I think it’s going to pay off,” Arceo said at Iowa State’s annual media day Aug. 11. “I feel pretty good. I feel like I’m striking the ball a lot more consistent.”
Netten is following a similar approach. A year after feeling the sting of losing the chance at the starting spot to Arceo and being asked to redshirt, Netten is a lot stronger and a lot more confident.
In fact, Netten is thankful he got a chance to learn for year while redshirting.
“I was very glad I redshirted,” Netten said. “I got to travel last year, so I’m a lot more comfortable being out in front of 50,000 fans. That and my strength are the two most important things that I gained from last year.”
Like Arceo, Netten also worked to improve. Last year, Netten would skip the left after hitting a field goal which would jeopardize his accuracy. Now, the Ankeny native follows through toward the goalpost to improve his precision and give him more power.
Getting to know the kickers
— Edwin Arceo is a huge sports fan. The Muscatine graduate was born in El Monte, Calif. and lists the Dodgers, Raiders, Lakers and Manchester City as his favorite sports teams.
“I like to watch sports on TV,” Arceo said. “I’m a huge Sports Center fan from when I was five years old.”
— Arceo studies communication and Spanish at Iowa State. Those will be helpful when he graduates or when he returns home to Muscatine on breaks from class. Arceo grew up in a Spanish-speaking household.
“We spoke Spanish in the house until I was in first grade,” he said. “My parents like to speak Spanish so I don’t forget it. I’ll go back sometime and my Spanish will be a little rough. My parents will make sure I get back on track.”
— Even though he is a football player, Netten doesn’t consider himself a big sports fan.
“I’m big into video and photography stuff,” he said. “I’m a huge technology guy.”
Netten said he owns a Canon 60D camera, lights and a green screen. This summer, he even shot a friend’s senior pictures.