In a change of perspective, this month we asked our consulting experts about their experiences with players on the other side of the field. Specifically, we posed the following questions:
What is the most memorable kicking/punting/snapping performance or moment that you ever witnessed in person by your counterpart on the opposing team?
What is the most important thing you ever learned by watching or talking to your counterpart on the opposing team before/during/after a game?
"I was able to witness Jason Elam kick his 63 yard field goal at the end of the first half of the Jaguars / Broncos game in 1998.
Watching Jason Hanson in pre-game warm ups is very humbling! Even during high school when I played against him!"
"Mason Crosby in 2006 Colorado vs Kansas State lines up for a 47 yard game winning field goal. CU takes the delay of game penalty to run the clock down to one second. They back up five yards for the penalty. Crosby drills a 52 yard game winning field goal that clears the top of the uprights. It was unbelievable that CU had the confidence in Crosby to push him back five yards and know he is still going to drill it. The game was played in KS not CO."
Rob Maver, Calgary Stampeders kicker
"Burke Dales, my teammate, has always stressed the importance of only focusing on your next ball. All you can do.
Coach Bill Renner always told me to focus on a pure ball strike.
Paul McCallum told me to focus on being relaxed and exploding at the perfect time.
Short, but sweet. I feel like that is some of the better advice I've heard."
Chris Husby, Special Teams Football Academy
"I never really knew my counterpart specialists personally back in high school & college. Facebook wasn't around for me to connect and really get to know the other specialists in my conference. But the one kicking memory that I can remember back in high school, came when we were playing Cooper, our arch rival. Their kicker Dan Nystrom was getting D1 looks and ended up going to play for the Minnesota Gophers. I think he had kicked two 50 yard FGs earlier in the season which got him on their radar. In our game against them, I believe he missed a FG and we blocked his PAT. Naturally, being that they were the team we hated the most, wondering why he was that good & getting college looks, when we stopped him. But he went on to have a pretty good career for the Gophers and a stint in the NFL. So he was always fun to follow in college. Also at that point I didn't think much of it then. But when he got to college he went on a streak of not missing any FGs or PATs for a long time. When he did finally miss, I figured out that his last miss previous to that streak, was against our HS team. I guess growing up, I always thought that was kind of a cool connection, that we were responsible for his last miss before he went on his kicking streak."
"I remember speaking with Sean Landeta after a game early in my NFL career. I had an okay game, but not my best. He mentioned that it looked like I was trying too hard (really going after the kick.) He went on to say that the kicking game is all about maturation and the longer you can stay in the league, the more mature you become, which will improve your longevity. That helped me to realize that it is about improving your mental training which will allow you to trust your technique."