By Jeff White (email@example.com)
Name: Alec Vozenilek (pronounced voh-zin-ill-eck)
Vitals: 5-10, 190-pound redshirt junior
Hometown: Richmond (St. Christopher’s School)
College Career: Vozenilek, who wears jersey No. 30, walked on at UVa in 2010 and redshirted that season. He dressed for eight games in 2011 but did not see any action. In 2012, he handled the punting in every game, and his average of 40.6 yards per kick ranked fifth in the ACC. He had a career-best 57-yarder in the season finale against Virginia Tech.
Outlook for 2013:Virginia has a new special-teams coordinator, Larry Lewis, and he left no doubt last week about Vozenilek’s place on the depth chart.
“Voz is way ahead right now,” Lewis said at UVa’s Media Day. “I think Voz has showed me some things that I think I can really count on this year to help our coverage unit.”
Voice of Experience: Lewis also has coordinated special teams at Washington State, Colorado State and Nevada. Some coordinators essentially leave the kickers and punters alone, but that’s not Lewis’ style.
“Coach Lewis definitely knows what he’s talking about kicking-wise, with field goals, punting and snapping,” Vozenilek said after practice Thursday evening. “He knows all the details. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Just reading his bios, where he’s from, I had a good idea that he would know a good amount, but he knows [more than that]. He’s done a great job helping me.”
Mixed Bag: Vozenilek wasn’t satisfied with his performance in his first season as the Cavaliers’ punter, and he’s looking to improve this fall.
“I think I definitely had some great games and some not-so-good games,” he said, “and you gotta go back and look at both of the films and see those punts that were not so good and see what there is to correct. It’s all about consistency.”
In the spring, Vozenilek said, he reviewed videotape of his 2012 punts, “but I really haven’t touched on that lately. I’m just kind of moving forward. I’m just working on getting my drop more consistent, leg swing straight and refining some small things.”
Special Moment: Not long after spring practice ended, head coach Mike London announced at a team meeting that Vozenilek was being put on scholarship.
“I had no idea [it was coming],” Vozenilek recalled Thursday. “I let my family know, and they were proud of me, and thankful to Coach London.”
To earn a scholarship “was definitely a goal of mine coming in here,” Vozenilek said. “I knew I had to earn the job and earn the respect of players and the coaching staff [to be considered for a scholarship].”
A sociology major, Vozenilek is minoring in history. He’s on track to earn his bachelor’s degree next spring and hopes to compete for the Wahoos as a graduate student in 2014.
The coaches “told me that as of now, they want me to come back for a fifth year,” he said, “so to be on scholarship for two years at a place like UVa is an awesome feeling.”
All in the Family: At St. Christopher’s, Vozenilek played football, soccer, lacrosse and basketball at various times and also swam. He comes by his athleticism naturally. His parents played tennis in college: mother Betty at North Carolina and father Tom at Pacific Lutheran.
Vozenilek’s brother Rob is a junior at UVa. Rob was a walk-on guard on the men’s basketball team in 2011-12 and hopes to rejoin Tony Bennett’s program this season.