When Missouri punter Brock Harvey left Saturday’s game with a broken left collarbone, Sheri Hoenes added one more thing to her list of things to worry about.
“Mom’s definitely not enjoying the high stress of her children right now,” Matt Hoenes, her son, said.
Harvey’s injury made Matt Hoenes the No. 1 punter at Missouri (3-1, 1-0 Big 12 Conference). Sheri Hoenes’ daughter, Amanda, also occupies her thoughts. She is a crew chief on a CH-46 Marine helicopter in Iraq. She arrived there when America’s war in Iraq began and has returned after spending some time in California in July.
“She was in Baghdad, doing all the casualty evacuations and supplies and taxiing around all the big generals,” Matt Hoenes said.
Hoenes visited his sister in California soon after he suffered a frightening fall at his summer job.
Hoenes, a sophomore from Branson, was working for a construction company in Jefferson City, building an elevator shaft. While working on scaffolding four stories up, a board slipped and he fell on a concrete pillar. He landed on his left side, causing a cracked rib.
“I never realized four stories could go so quickly,” he said. “I don’t think I had a single thought as I was going down. I don’t know that a sound came out of me. It was just at the bottom in no time. Something I wouldn’t recommend experiencing to anyone.
“I was supposed to come in (to the athletic facility) and run and lift that day after work. I came in, but I didn’t get to run and lift. I was a little sore.”
Hoenes made a short visit to the hospital, and two
Please see Hoenes, page 3b
weeks later, he returned to Columbia to begin fall practices. He punted with soreness for the first two weeks of practice but challenged Harvey to start.
Hoenes has the spot for at least the next eight weeks while Harvey recovers. Harvey will not need surgery and had his left arm in a sling Monday at the Tigers’ weekly media day. Harvey, who has a 41.7-yard average, said this was the first time a block blind-sided him during a punt return.
“I’ve always seen it right at the last second, kind of prepared myself,” Harvey said. “The hit on the ground is what broke my collarbone. It’s one of those things where I was trying to watch out what’s going on, but the guy caught me pretty good. The ground caused the break.”
Harvey’s injury occurred on his second punt of the game, which came on the final play of the first half. He had safety responsibilities on the punt coverage. Coach Gary Pinkel said a Colorado player blocked him legally, and it spun Harvey around and down on his left side.
“It’s unfortunate for Brock because he was doing a good job,” Pinkel said. “You just don’t have piles of punters lined up. You just don’t. Matt has worked real hard since last spring, and he’ll have to go in and do a good job.”
Hoenes’ two punts Saturday weren’t his first collegiate punts. He punted for Concordia (Neb.) University after the No. 1 punter got hurt midway through the 2002 season. After the season, though, Hoenes transferred to Missouri for a chance to walk-on.
Hoenes initially walked on in 2003 as a running back and enjoyed his time on the scout team. Near the end of last season, though, he suffered several concussions. Hoenes then decided to try punting, something he also did in high school.
Because Harvey was recovering from foot surgery during spring practice, Hoenes served as the punter. Hoenes again has become the Tigers’ main option at punter.
“I guess I’m the last resort right now,” he said. “It’s kind of nice to get the opportunity to play. Hopefully, the next several weeks while (Harvey is) recuperating, I’ll get a chance to perform at a high level.”
Because Hoenes, who said he felt nervous playing in front of 60,000 people for the first time, doesn’t have to worry about competition, he said he can relax and do his job.
“It’s more like the pressure is off, which sounds kind of weird, but it’s basically, right now, it’s my position to lose as opposed to get from Brock because he’s out for several weeks,” Hoenes said. “Again, it’s my position to lose, and I’ve got to go in with confidence and do my thing, game-in, game-out.”
Despite Harvey’s injury, Hoenes said he isn’t too worried about having to cover punts, especially considering the fall he had in July.
“I figured coverage shouldn’t be too bad. I should be able to survive that,” he said.
Should anything happen to him, Hoenes said place-kicker Adam Crossett would be next in line.