Published Sunday, February 17, 2013 AT 10:10 PM / Updated at 10:10 PM
Maher anxious to see what Bondi will do
Rich Kaipust Omaha World-Herald

Brett Maher says the leg strength and “explosion” of Mauro Bondi will impress fans most as Bondi starts his bid to replace Maher as the Nebraska kicker.

“The ball just jumps off his foot,” Maher said.

Maher handled the Husker place-kicking duties the last two seasons as Bondi was used sparingly in 2011 and not at all in 2012 (in what became a redshirt season). The scholarship recruit now will start his bid to win the job in spring practice.

“He’s got one of the strongest legs I’ve been around, and especially for such a young kid,” Maher said. “He definitely has a huge upside. I’m excited to see what he does in spring ball, and it’ll be a pretty good competition going into fall camp.”

Maher said Bondi has continued to make strides with his consistency on field goals since getting to Lincoln, when the two first battled for the NU kicking jobs left vacated by Alex Henery.

“I think he’s improved,” Maher said. “I think it was a little bit of transition for him, kicking off the ground (without a tee), but that’s the case for a lot of guys when they get here. But it’s something he worked at and got better with.”

Maher handled place-kicking, kickoffs and punting for two seasons. He said Bondi also can punt, but said freshman walk-on Sam Foltz is “an extremely talented punter” who could be a hidden gem.

It’s a big week ahead for Maher, by the way, and he said he feels well-prepared for the NFL Combine. The Kearney High graduate is one of three former Huskers going to Indianapolis.

About Rich Kaipust

Rich Kaipust is a staff writer for The Omaha World-Herald and covers Nebraska football. You can follow Rich on Twitter (@RKaipustOWH) or email him at rich.kaipust@owh.com