In the FCS Huddle: Bucknell foes don't get kick out of Eden
By Craig Haley, FCS Executive Director
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Josh Eden's favorite blocked kick last season was one in which he didn't know was blocked.
The Bucknell standout knew he had a hand on Andrew Samson's field-goal try for Penn, but didn't realize the ball was blocked until he heard the Bison fans cheering loudly while he lay on the turf.
It might have seemed to others that Eden could block kicks even if he was sleep-walking through an opposing line of scrimmage.
He set Football Championship Subdivision records by blocking six extra points and eight overall kicks - adding two field-goal attempts - and tied the single game mark with three blocked extra points against Colgate.
"We're going to become intelligent as coaches and see if he can block punts this year," Bucknell head coach Joe Susan said with a laugh.
It was hardly the season Eden expected after he had been away from football for two seasons while completing a Mormon mission, but he stood out like a sore thumb in front of the place-kicker's path.
Bucknell had a 1-10 record in Susan's first season at the Patriot League university in Lewisburg, Pa., and Eden, a 6-foot-4, 280-pound defensive end, made the all-league first team for the second time. He led the team with 10.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks and, of course, the nation in blocked kicks.
"Josh is very athletic at a position that combines both power and athleticism," Susan said.
Eden eventually became the focus of opposing special teams, so he stayed one step ahead of them.
"I watch a lot of film on the PAT - what they do, how long is the snap, see where we need to be - so it all just kind of depends," Eden said. "Even in games, we have adjustment calls. We're going to shift when everybody else moves. The first one is most important because you can feel the timing, where the guard steps and things like that."
Eden comes up the middle to block kicks, trying to find the seem between the guard and the short snapper or the guard and the tackle.
"The big secret is all 11 guys have to do their jobs," said the senior from State College, Pa., but a native of Brigham City, Utah.
"We found an area on PAT teams that maybe is a little weaker than some other stuff. If the outside guy doesn't rush right, that closes the gap that I'm supposed to get through. Having Robert De La Rosa next to me always helps, it can push the guard out of the way. If all 11 of us kind of get in our gaps the right way, I'm just able to kind of squeeze through, and I'm the lucky person who gets to put his hand up and I tip that ball before it goes through the uprights. It's a real team thing and we kind of took pride in it at the end of the year. It's something that we expect now - we're going to block PATs and that's going to be our calling card."
Bucknell will kick off its season on Saturday against Duquesne.
Bison opponents can expect another big season out of Eden. Susan says the only time his team stopped the four-year starter in spring practice was when the coaches took him off the field.
09/02 12:18:27 ET