Nov. 13, 2005
It’s fourth-and-inches in The Swamp on the Gators’ 20-yard line. The clock shows 15 seconds to go and the Gators feel like they have already secured their six-point win, as long as they maintain possession.
The ball is snapped and handed off to the tailback. FSU shows blitz and lineman Myles Hodish bullets toward the tailback, giving him a crunching blow and sending the ball to the ground. He then scoops it
up and runs it all the way to the end zone in front of thousands of silent Florida fans to score the winning touchdown.
Sound about right? It does to Hodish, FSU’s deep snapper.
While working his summer job in order to pay off expenses before earning his scholarship, Hodish would dream of playing a major part in leading his team to victory.
Little do fans know, Hodish has already made a solid contribution to FSU’s games for the past two years.
“When you snap well you don’t get recognized,” Hodish said.
When you snap poorly, however, everyone knows who you are. Miami fans will always remember the bad snap in this year’s season-opener that prevented any chance to tie FSU late in the fourth quarter and force overtime.
Despite the lack of hype, Hodish doesn’t resent the fact that his name isn’t in the headlines.
“I like it that fans don’t really know about me,” he said. “It’s nice to get your name in the papers sometimes, but it is good for the snapper to not get so much attention. It removes a lot of the pressure.”
Joining the team as a walk-on, the Fort Lauderdale native was drawn to Florida State’s mystique, choosing FSU over Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia Tech.
Hodish also had to keep in mind that he had to pay his own way through school unlike the scholarship athletes, so he chose to stay in his home state. Being a walk-on motivated him to work even harder to earn his spot on the team.
The time finally came for him in December 2004 after starting the entire year as a walk-on, when he was called up to Bowden’s office.
“Coach Bowden said, `I’d hate to do this to you again, but you’re going to have to wait until fall,'” Hodish said. “Then he said, `No, I am just joking with you. We have one for you this time.'”
Earning a scholarship for his position meant a lot to Hodish, who spent three and a half years on the team as a walk-on working towards that goal.
“It validated it more,” Hodish said. “I felt more a part of the team than I had before.”
Not only did he enjoy feeling like a part of the team, he also appreciated the things that come with being a scholarship football player.
“I finally got to eat at the cafeteria,” Hodish happily said. “I had to walk by there after practice every day and see everyone else eat. I think I was looking most forward to that.”
Now that he is a scholarship athlete, the feeling of accomplishment has continued to drive him to maintain his record of 100-percent accurate snaps.
“The snap is the first step in the whole thing: snap, kick, then down-the-field coverage,” punter Chris Hall explained.
Hall and Hodish work together during every practice to perfect their accuracy and to establish a rhythm with the punt.
“As long as you have a good snap — which he hasn’t messed up one yet — it starts everything off on the right track,” Hall added.
Making a good snap is more difficult than it looks to the fans, and it comes with its fair share of pressure, too.
“Bending over and throwing a ball perfectly 15 yards between your legs as fast as you can and making sure that it is in a target that’s two feet by two feet is the ultimate pressure,” said assistant coach Kevin Steele, who works with the special teams units and understands the importance of the role that a deep snapper plays.
In the game of football, special teams account for one-third of the game. In fact, last year’s Wake Forest game came down to a field goal. With 1:06 left in the game and FSU tied with Wake Forest 17-17, the
kick was good and Florida State claimed the victory. Had the snap been bad, that could have taken away a “W” for FSU.
“The deep snapper is as important as the quarterback,” Steele explained. “People don’t realize it, but if you’re off on a snap, it’s going to cost you.”
One thing Florida State fans, and football fans in general, need to realize is that there is an unsung hero among the warriors out on the field, and it is indeed the deep snapper.
Although Hodish may never have the opportunity to set foot into the end zone with the game-winning ball tucked into his chest, his contributions every game are well-known by the coaches, the punter, the kicker and the rest of his teammates, and perhaps most importantly, himself.
By Mallory Schneider
FSU Sports Information