Florida State University

FSU Seminoles punter Cason Beatty finds new focus

Florida State Seminoles punter Cason Beatty is run into by Auburn Tigers rusher Johnathan Ford for a penalty to extend a Seminoles drive in the first half during the BCS National Championship game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., on Monday, Jan. 6, 2014.
Florida State Seminoles punter Cason Beatty is run into by Auburn Tigers rusher Johnathan Ford for a penalty to extend a Seminoles drive in the first half during the BCS National Championship game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., on Monday, Jan. 6, 2014. MCT

Nobody on the Florida State football team has been more maligned the past three years than punter Cason Beatty.

Beatty has had his moments, but that isn’t enough, especially for a fan base that has become spoiled by watching NFL talent spread all over the field.

And when your punter isn’t booming punts like Ray Guy, well, that isn’t acceptable.

All of which is why Beatty, a senior from Charlotte, North Carolina, has made a very wise choice.

“I don’t have a Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, anything,” Beatty said.

The tone has been a lot different this week after Beatty played a major role in Florida State’s 14-0 victory over Boston College on Sept. 18. Beatty averaged 52.3 yards on seven punts, his best game unless you count one punt for 53 yards against Nevada in 2013.

Beatty continually bailed out the Seminoles’ listless offense, flipping field position with virtually every punt when field position was crucial.

“That’s a guy who went through a couple rough weeks not playing as well as he was capable of playing,” coach Jimbo Fisher said. “But we knew. That’s the way he’d been kicking it every day in practice. And he relaxed and took it to the field.”

Beatty has to wait to see if last week’s performance will turn the narrative for good or if it was an anomaly. No. 10 Florida State (3-0, 1-0 ACC) is off Saturday before traveling to Wake Forest on Oct. 3 for a 3:30 p.m. game.

A week ago, after Beatty averaged 40.6 on seven punts against South Florida (all in the first half), Fisher called him out; saying he has “got to get better.” Beatty had three punts that traveled less than 40 yards, including a 39-yarder that was returned 46 yards.

This came a week after averaging 36.3 yards on three punts against Texas State, including a 26-yarder on his first punt of the season.

But Beatty kept his spirits buoyed. … and stayed off social media.

“People can say what they want to say, but when they’re in your shoes, they would know,” he said.

Beatty said the 26-yarder came off the side of his foot, adding “there’s NFL guys that [kick] 10- to 15-yarders all the time. They come back with a 44, 45 and finish the game. But people don’t see that. They see a 36.1 [average] and say ‘it’s a bad game,’ when it’s one bad ball.”

The scrutiny on Beatty’s miskicks and bad games the past few years could have been much worse. But when the team is 39-3 during that stretch, a punter who averages 38.3, 41.1 and 41.0 yards per kick does not make much of a difference.

But Beatty made a difference last week.

Beatty had five punts that went farther than 50 yards. He had a 56-yarder in the second quarter and a 58-yarder late in the third that was downed on the 1 and turned into seven points for the Seminoles when cornerback Jalen Ramsey scooped up a fumble and returned it for a touchdown on the ninth play of that drive.

“Nothing out of the ordinary,” Beatty said following the game. “Fifty-something yard average, that’s what I do in practice.”

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