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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Punters, Kickers and Long Snappers

I was in Las Vegas a few weekends ago to see some college buddies. One of them is also a Division I college coach and I tagged along with him to a Chris Sailer Kicking combine.showcase in downtown Las Vegas as my buddy was in need of a good kick off guy and a punter.

I learned a few things:
1) Long Snappers - apparently most colleges want someone who can get it back to the punters hands in .75 seconds or less. Ideally .72 or less but .75 is the max range. Under .70 and you are in pro territory. When you think about guys blocking punts or deflecting punts with little more than a few knuckles lengths of distance, you can see why there is a big difference between .72 and .75.

2) Three Step Punters - two steppers are preferred because of quickness. As my buddy said, "When we see a three stepper we are trying to block a punt that game, without expection."

This gets me to my story. My buddy watches a three stepper and thinks he has a good leg so he says to the player.
"Son, you've got a nice leg but I don't like the three steps. We block punts from three steppers. Can you show me a few kicks with a two step approach? "

First Kick - three steps
Second Kick - three steps
Third Kick -he never saw the kick because he walked away and crossed off the player. "Uncoachable" where the words he used.

Now, get inside the kids head. Here he is in front of 30 colleges coaches (USC, Boise) to name a few I saw. Here are my guesses as to why he did not try a two stepper:
1) Muscle memory and nerves - he just could not do it under the pressure.

2) He was not interested in my buddies school and thought it better to boom kicks for the other 29 coaches using his three steps.

3) He did not want to shank the punt in front of my buddy.

My buddy did not care about the result he just wanted to see him try it.

Combines are scary places for kids - many of them probable felt it was all or nothing. The truth is the coaches go to Chris Sailer and ask him who to watch for first based on their need. Sailer, who has already seen these kids during his sessions prior to the scouting period, knows who they are and lets the coach know. Even a bad day by a good kicker is not

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