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Red-White Spring Game, 4.6.13

LINCOLN, NEB - 04/06/2013 Nebraska place kicker Mauro Bondi (37) kicks during the first half of the Red-White Spring Game Saturday, April 6, 2013, at Memorial Stadium. MATT RYERSON/Lincoln Journal Star

Nebraska has gotten used to strong punting and place-kicking in recent years.

Bo Pelini seems confident the trend will continue, though new faces abound.

Sam Foltz, a redshirt freshman, is the odds-on favorite to get the nod as Nebraska's punter.

The place-kicking situation is unsettled heading into the Aug. 5 start of preseason camp.

Foltz, a walk-on from Grand Island, drew strong praise last week from Pelini.

"He had a tremendous spring as a punter," the coach said. "I mean, he's a good athlete. He's a guy who could conceivably help you at wide receiver. But he did well enough in the spring that we're going to protect him and he's just going to be solely a punter right now."

Meanwhile, a battle apparently looms for place-kicking duties, with sophomore Mauro Bondi and transfer Pat Smith apparently the lead candidates.

Bondi, of Boca Raton, Fla., had "a pretty good spring," Pelini said. Last season, Bondi was prepared as Maher's backup, but ended up taking a redshirt season. In 2011, he handled four kickoffs and connected on his only PAT.

Smith joins the Husker program for his final season of eligibility after transferring from Western Illinois. As a junior, he made all 10 of his field-goal attempts, including a career-long 46-yarder. He also averaged 38 yards on 84 punts, with a long of 54.

He spent a redshirt season at Missouri before transferring to Western Illinois.

Smith likely will concentrate on place-kicking, Pelini said.

"It's going to be good competition," the coach said.

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