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Hilling progressing, and popular

From Mirror reports

UNIVERSITY PARK — Hollidaysburg’s Vlad Hilling competed for the starting place-kicker job at Penn State prior to the season and was beaten out by Jake Pinegar, but Hilling has continued to make progress on and off the field throughout his true freshman year.

“Vlad is one of the most popular guys on the team. He’s such a great kid,” PSU special teams coordinator Phil Galiano said Friday.

“He’s working on his kickoffs in practice. He feels better about his approach and his footwork, and the results have improved throughout the season.”

Hilling and others were in a competition with Pinegar prior to the season, but once a team picks a starting kicker, it can be tough for that player to lose the job unless he really struggles.

Pinegar, also a freshman, got off to a slow start before gaining confidence as the season progressed. He’s 15-of-21 on field goals with a long of 49 yards.

Hilling has worked to improve in practice and has made strides.

“He’s gotten into a rhythm,” Galiano said. “He’s working on his field goals on being more consistent in how he’s striking the ball and where his plant foot is so he can get the same kick each time. He’s got a very strong leg. It’s more technique we’re working on.”

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