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Oct. 8, 2009

By Kim Osborne
Media Relations Student Assistant

If Spencer Lanning is anything, it’s humble. After scoring on all 10 field goal attempts in the last four games, the only thing he can say is that he’s, `slowly improving every game.’ Even on his touchdown-saving tackle in the second quarter against fourth ranked Ole Miss, he does not want to accept all the glory.

“Everyone keeps saying that was the game-saving tackle,” said Lanning. “I am flattered by their praise but I don’t see it that way. Every play could potentially be a game-winning one. If defense doesn’t make their tackles or if the offense misses a catch, those are game changing. There are too many opportunities in a game to say that just one was the one we needed. I was just glad to do my part.”

Lanning has centered his playing philosophy on this concept of, `just doing his part’. It was only until this year that he received a scholarship to play football, but even this accomplishment kept him grounded.

“It’s a great honor but just because I am on scholarship now doesn’t change the matter,” said Lanning. “If anything, it makes me want to work harder and prove myself every day on the field.”

With his mentality to improve, no wonder Lanning has found himself in a leadership role for Carolina. Since assuming place kicking and punting responsibilities this season, Lanning has put up some impressive figures. His average punt is about 43 yards with a long of 54 on the year, and he has made nine consecutive field goals. For Lanning, playing football at the University of South Carolina has become a family affair. His entire family is Clemson alumni.

“My whole family has been supportive of me but especially my mom and dad,” Lanning attests. “There are no hard feelings towards coming down to South Carolina, I didn’t get disowned.”

In fact, Lanning has converted his parents to the Garnet Way.

“They are die hard Carolina fans now. Even my little sister, who is a freshman at Clemson, she cheers for the Gamecocks.”

With his parents cheering in the stands, one would think that Lanning has enough family support at William-Bryce Stadium. Yet throughout his Gamecock football career, Lanning has had strong mentors on the field.

Special teams Coach Shane Beamer has played an instrumental role as well in Lanning’s football career.

“Coach Beamer is like a father figure to me,” Lanning said. “I have the utmost respect for him.”

Beamer has been working with Lanning improving his game. According to Lanning, there is a different stride and rhythm for punting and kicking.

“Last game I kept getting my strides off, so I’ve been practicing on that and trying to get better for the (next) game.”

When it comes to kicking field goals, Lanning has found a tried-and-true method. After he has positioned himself behind holder Stephen Flint, he scans the crowd for a target.

“I pick out a fan sitting high up in the stands,” he said. “My goal is to kick the football to them and so far it seems to work.”

Also Ryan Succop, who currently kicks for the Kansas City Chiefs, has remained a close confidant of Lanning’s and just a phone call away.

“Succop has definitely been a role model for me these past years,” said Lanning. “I called him after our first game [against NC State] when I wasn’t kicking well. He helped me calm down and realize some of the things I was doing wrong.”

With the first third of the season over, Lanning seems to have found his stride.