September 21, 2009 8:48:00 AM
STARKVILLE -- Sean Brauchle is finding his range at Mississippi State.
The confidence for the placekicker is rising as he makes field goals for the Bulldogs.
In Saturday''s 15-3 victory against Vanderbilt, Brauchle made three field goals and he''s starting to make them from long distances..
Brauchle, a transfer from Itawamba Community College, made field goals from 44 and 27 yards in the second quarter and a season-long of 49 yards in the third to give MSU a 9-3 lead.
His 49-yarder was the longest for a Bulldog since Keith Andrews made one from 49 against Florida in 2005.
Even though it was a slick night in Nashville, Tenn., with all of the rain that had fallen in central Tennessee, Brauchle didn''t seem to let the conditions distract him.
"It had been doing it (raining) all week in Starkville and we''ve been practicing in it," Brauchle said. "We''re not going inside (to practice)."
After missing his first two attempts of the season, Brauchle has made four-straight field goals.
"It just took a while to adapt and find a comfort zone to be able to do what I''m doing," Brauchle said. "It was just a matter of going out and relaxing."
MSU head coach Dan Mullen works with the special teams unit and Brauchle said the kickers are instructed to forget about the negatives and only focus on the positives.
Brauchle was a two-time All-American kicker at Itawamba, but Mullen said those honors have not kept him from wanting to improve.
"Sean works every single day on becoming a technically-sound kicker," Mullen said on his Sunday teleconference. "He has a lot of ability and a lot of natural talent. I know he came out and missed a couple of field goals on a big stage in our first game, but if you look at him, he''s a very confident young man and he came back from that. I was pleased to see him have that success on Saturday."
Mullen was pleased with the special teams and defense against the Commodores, but was concerned that the offense seemed to "sputter at times."
He said emphasis will be placed on the wide-receiver position to sharpen up their responsibilities.
"I was disappointed in how they blocked and ran routes," Mullen said. "We''ll spend time trying to get that fixed this week.. We''ve got to be able to beat some man coverage in running routes. That will help open the field and make bigger plays."
n Injury update: Mullen said there were no significant injuries in the Vanderbilt game.
Redshirt freshman offensive guard Tobias Smith (ankle), of Columbus, made the trip to Vanderbilt and dressed out, but didnt get into the game.
That opportunity is expected to come soon.
"We hope Tobias is making his full recovery," Mullen said. "We felt like he could have gone in a limited role, but every day he keeps getting better and better. Hopefully this week, he''ll be full go for us."
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4. Local academy baseball players earn all-state honors HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS