SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Kyle Brindza has the same line of thinking as a number of baseball teams do with prized pitchers: He's on a strict pitch count, only replace "pitch" with "kick."
After two weeks, it's apparent Brindza emerged on top from both the placekicking and punting battles set up by Notre Dame coaches during fall camp. He connected on four of four field goals against Michigan and has taken every punt called for by the Irish this year.
Coach Brian Kelly said he could deploy Alex Wulfeck, a punter without the booming leg of Brindza but with a little more accuracy, if the situation is right (as in, closer to the end zone), although he hasn't seen the field this year. After a bad kick against Temple, Nick Tausch -- who returned for a fifth year to battle Brindza for the No. 1 placekicking role -- appears out of a job. Brindza, too, will handle kickoffs.
All that adds up to an awful lot of kicking for the junior from Canton, Mich. But Brindza has himself on a strict kick limit during practice, designed to keep him from coming down with a dead leg later in the season.
"Even though my body might feel good, I'm still going to have a number count or else I might push it too much and wake up the next day and say 'oh man, I feel horrible,' " Brindza said.
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Brindza's able to pull that off because he's confident in both his kicking and punting abilities. Having kicked in a number of pressure-packed situations and raucous atmospheres has helped him, too.
"I've been in the environment of all these different stadiums for about a year now," Brindza said. "It's kind of just calm and cool now, like I was last year with field goals but now it's just able to add that to my résumé of punting with it as well."