This Saturday the Cincinnati Bearcats held an open practice at the Sheakley Athletics Complex for all to see. The highlight of the afternoon was a scrimmage in which Tommy Tuberville ran out just about every player on his roster to fine tune his depth chart and give the fans a glimpse of the present and future of UC football. But one name that was noticeably absent was punter Pat O’Donnell.
Normally the punter is the last player on the football team that anyone notices, just ahead of the long snapper. Their job is so routine that the majority of people don’t really pay attention. But at Cincinnati punters are demigods. Kevin Huber’s monster punts “Wowed” the crowds at Nippert Stadium and were critical in the Bearcats earning their first BCS bowl bid in 2008. He was ultimately named to the All-American team that season and was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals the following April. Upon graduation, Huber turned over the reins to Jake Rogers and then Pat O’Donnell, who continued the tradition of flipping the field at every opportunity.
4.16.2013 UPDATE: Pat O’Donnell has transferred to Miami (FL).
But on Saturday O’Donnell didn’t participate in the scrimmage. He wasn’t even on the field. He was nowhere to be found. In his place was junior (and CHCA grad!) John Lloyd. With little experience under his belt at this point in his career, he was shaky at times during the scrimmage. Lloyd will get better with time but he didn’t instill the confidence in the position that I veteran like O’Donnell would have.
So where is Pat O’Donnell? I have no idea but what matters is that it doesn’t look like he isn’t on this team right now. Most importantly it isn’t clear if he will be a Bearcat this Fall. And if so Cincinnati could have a huge question mark at punter in 2013. Be sure to keep an eye on this in the coming months.