Husker kicker transfer Timmy Bleekrode on his NU spring game experience
Nebraska's 2022 scholarship kicker, Timmy Bleekrode, was at its Red-White and got a taste of what a game-day atmosphere is like at Memorial Stadium.
“They were expecting 55,000 and that's right around the number that was there," the Furman University grad transfer said. "I wasn't expecting it to be a sold-out stadium but just the game, the atmosphere and the crowd was into it. The atmosphere was really cool and it lived up to expectations for me for a spring game.”
Bleekrode, who is originally from Atlanta, GA, has two years of eligibility as a Husker graduate transfer.
“My favorite part, I think was the runout. That seemed pretty cool to me with that tunnel walk on the big screen," he said. "And then I also didn't know it was a tradition when I got here, but the balloons, that was pretty cool."
As for the on-the-field display, Bleekrode thought punter Brian Buschini did a "really good" job on a windy day with a 63-yard punt and saw other promising things from the rest of the team.
“The punter Brian, he had a pretty good day with a couple of big balls and get big punts. It's gonna be exciting to work with him this year," the 5-foot-8, 189-pound kicker said. "The offense, it looks like they had a couple of really good running backs. The defense I saw they were pretty good. They kept getting to the quarterback. So it was just kind of hard to tell with the tackling in the first half.”
Bleekrode saw a place for himself and his kicker ability.
“As far as kicking wise, they mean, the kickers had an O.K. day, I think the wind was a big factor," he said. "And there's definitely an opportunity there. I see myself, hopefully, fitting in right there.”
Bleekrode is the first kicker Nebraska has made an offer to during the recruiting process since the class of 2018.
At Furman, Bleekrode was 15-of-18 on field goals with a season-long of 51 yards in 2021. He was 9-of-9 on kicks under 40 yards and 30-of-32 on PATs.
The kicker graduates with a degree in business from Furman on May 7, will spend one week at home in Atlanta and then will move to Lincoln a few days before his MBA classes begin on May 16.
“I'm just excited to experience a new opportunity at Nebraska compared to Furman," Bleekrode said. "I'm excited to meet a bunch of the guys I only know a handful just through my two visits. So excited to meet some of the guys and just settling with a new program.”
As a more experienced kicker, Bleekrode also sees a leadership opportunity with the Huskers' kickers when he reports for football on May 22.
“Hopefully, my role can be a little bit of a leadership position, because I'm going to be one of the older guys because I think they have a relatively young kicker room," he said. "But just stepping in as a leader and hopefully building some sort of schedule and routine. Get to know the guys over the summer and then just go from there.”
Nebraska football has struggled on special teams over the last few seasons, losing several games at the hands of the third phase. Bleekrode said because he's in the south, he isn't very familiar with those struggles but, as he always planned, will focus on his kicking.
“As far as me coming in just as long as I stick to how I kick in my routines and just stick to what I've done in the past, especially at Furman, these past couple seasons," he said. "Just stay confident in my kicking game and just stay as consistent as possible. I think I'll be fine.”