Dave Doeren knew that freshman kicker Kyle Bambard was better than he showed in the spring. The N.C. State coach even reminded his assistants to be patient with the newcomer.
“I told our staff don’t be concerned about it yet, ‘Let’s see where he’s at in the fall,’ ” Doeren said Saturday after the team’s second scrimmage. “He has been outstanding in camp.”
In the scrimmage at Carter-Finley Stadium on Saturday, Bambard made field goals of 43 and 53 yards, Doeren said.
Bambard will be the starter on Sept. 5 in the opener against Troy on place kicks, Doeren said, while there’s still a competition between Bambard and redshirt freshman Jackson Maples for kickoff duties.
Bambard has the difficult task of replacing Nik Sade, a four-year starter who broke the school’s career scoring record. Sade made 12 of his 17 field-goal attempts last season and finished his career with 55 field goals and 332 points.
At 5-8 and 190 pounds, Bambard is physically nearly a complete contrast to the lanky Sade (6-3, 200 pounds). Bambard was a standout quarterback and baseball player for Walled Lake (Mich.) Western High.
He threw for more than 4,200 yards and ran for more than 2,600 yards in his prep career. His athletic ability was one of the things that stood out to Doeren, who recruited Bambard from a specialists’ camp at N.C. State in the summer of 2013.
“I just liked his demeanor,” Doeren said. “You could tell, being a quarterback, he was pretty savvy.”
Doeren said Bambard can run a 4.65 in the 40-yard dash and has been active in the weight room.
“We kind of have to back him off on the weights because he loves lifting,” Doeren said.
The team spent 30 minutes on special teams on Saturday, the coach said, and has spent more time during training camp on rushing the kickers and trying emulate a game-type experience.
With Sade, and former punter Wil Baumann, that wasn’t necessary the last two years in practice, Doeren said.
There will be a transition with a freshman, Doeren said, but he has confidence in Bambard’s talent.
“You have to remind yourself constantly that he hasn’t played college football yet but that doesn’t mean we have low expectations,” Doeren said. “He’s a really good kicker. We are excited about his future.”
Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio