Last Modified: Thursday, August 09, 2012 6:33 PM
BATON ROUGE — LSU apparently has decided to start outsourcing its punting chores Down Under.
Yes, mate, there’s another Australian on the Tigers’ roster for this season, ready to join LSU cult figure Brad Wing to thrill you with daring deeds of the toe.
It’s not an Australia-LSU pipeline.
More like …
“A very long airplane ride,” said Jamie Keehn, “Brisbane to L.A., L.A. to Memphis, Memphis to Baton Rouge.”
To be precise, 9,099 air miles.
“Watched about three movies I didn’t like,” Keehn said. “Listened to a lot of music I didn’t like.”
But you just thought Wing’s rise to celebrity was an unlikely story.
At least Wing, who Thursday added Sports Illustrated to his long list of preseason All-American selections, learned to bomb punts by adapting his Australian rules football experience to the American game. He caught LSU’s eye when Parkview Baptist High in Baton Rouge lured the exchange student out to the field.
None of that.
The 23-year-old incoming freshman was once his age-group Australian champion in the javelin and he was on his high school’s national championship quad scull team, whatever that is.
But he put on some honest football shoulder pads for the first time in his life on Sunday and the Tigers’ season opener against North Texas will likely be the first football game he’ll see in person.
He didn’t know Wing until making his official visit to LSU in March — 36 hours in the air for a 32-hour visit — which ended with him accepting a scholarship offer.
But he was egged on by Wing’s rise a year ago, which, he said, became big news in Australia, particularly as the Tigers continued unbeaten.
“My inspiration,” Keehn said. “I only picked up an American football 12 months ago, but I was working at it; I had been seeing Brad on television a lot of times, with a lot of emphasis on Brad being in the national championship game. It’s definitely exciting times.”
It wasn’t exactly backyard stuff. Keehn worked the past year with Prokick Australia, whose website lists its mission statement as “train and guide potential Australian punters/kickers/footballers to full scholarships or the roster of a professional American Football team in North America.”
Evidently, it worked. Already there have been rumors of Keehn outdistancing and outhanging the cannon-footed Wing during summer workouts.
If true, there may soon be a lot of college recruiters watching those bad in-flight movies and enduring the music.
Wing went viral as an unlikely football rock star last year, mostly after his 44-yard apparent touchdown run on a fake punt was nullified after he taunted the Florida Gators.
“My focus this year is to be known for my punting,” said Wing, who is reportedly second on the team in Twitter followers behind Tyrann “Honey Badger” Mathieu.
But he also had probably the greatest punting year in LSU history.
Against West Virginia, for instance, Wing punted a half-dozen times, not only for a 48.7-yard average but all six were downed inside the 15 — at the WVU 3-, 4-, 5-, 8-, 9- and 11-yard lines.
“He’s a weapon we very much enjoy,” head coach Les Miles said.
Like Wing, Keehn said he has toyed with the unorthodox style of hitting the point of the ball to create an end-over-end punt, although he didn’t have the natural experience of the Aussie rules game to draw on.
Wing used it for his uncanny accuracy in downing 27 punts inside the 20 last year. When just trying to bomb one — such as the 74-yarder at Alabama — he hits the traditional American spiral.
“I can do both,” said Keehn. “I had to teach myself to hit the spiral, though. The other way is the Australian way.”
It’s not the only difference he has noticed in his new surroundings.
“The commodes,” he said, “they really do swirl in the opposite direction up here.”
Posted By: Ztownhawg On: 8/10/2012
Title: Swirl, baby, swirl
The Coriolis Effect in a toilet! Good stuff..... the kid sounds like a weapon, though. Geaux Tigers!