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USC football: Punter Kris Albarado keeps working

September 26, 2013|By Gary Klein
  • A USC fan is lifted during the Trojans' game against Utah State on Saturday.
A USC fan is lifted during the Trojans' game against Utah State on Saturday. (Mark J. Terrill / Associated…)

USC punter Kris Albarado is making the most of his opportunity after waiting two years to help the Trojans.

Albarado, a third-year sophomore from Louisiana, came to USC on scholarship. But he sat behind Kyle Negrete, a former walk-on who won the job in 2011 and earned a scholarship in 2012.

Albarado said special teams coach John Baxter told him during his official visit to USC that "the best man is going to play."

"We both came here during camp and he was the better guy my first year," Albarado said of Negrete. "He rightfully deserved the spot."

Now, Albarado is thriving.

He was recognized as the Pac-12 Conference special teams player of the week for his performance against Utah State. Albarado placed five kicks inside the 20-yard line, including two inside the five.

Albarado described the recognition as "awesome" and "cool" but added, "I want to come back and punt better."

Albarado is preparing for his first test in a notably hostile environment at Arizona State.

"I like it, actually," he said. "I want to be in an environment like that."

Albarado's 40.3-yard average belies his value in Baxter's schemes.

The two-year wait, he said, helped him become a better student and a better player.

"It was a little rough — it wasn't something that I was expecting," he said of the wait, adding that Baxter's strategy was "very different than what most people consider conventional punting."


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