the study of the kicking components within sports

Monday, August 26, 2013

UCLA Bruins 2013 Specialists

Our summer tour of FBS schools looks at the specialists for the UCLA Bruins.

Kicker: Ka'imi Fairbairn, sophomore (Kailua, HI / Punahou)
2012: Handled all of the Bruin placekicking chores as a freshman ... Saw action in all 14 games as the Bruin placekicker ... Connected on 14 of his 15 field goal attempts from 35-yards-and-in during the season ... Made 11 in a row from that range to end the season ... Made a season-long 48-yarder against Stanford in the Rose Bowl ... His 33-yard kick at Arizona State with no time left provided the winning points in a 45-43 Bruin victory ... Scored 104 points on the season, tied for 11th on the school single-season list ... His total of 16 made field goals ranks tied for 11th on that school single-season list.
"Some key members of the Bruins’ kicking and punting units spend much of their time during positional drills in San Bernardino along a tree-line parallel to an end zone, focusing on drills that develop their cores and muscle memory. During team game simulations, however, kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn and Longo are among the players summoned to the field by a 'Mayday!' shout from the coaching staff. The call directs them to set up and kick a field goal within 10 seconds. Although the coaching staff sometimes calls Fairbairn to kick balls from as far away as 60 yards, the sophomore kicker keeps his attention on making more realistic targets.
'You want to be money inside of 40 (yards) … Everything above that is just a bonus'.”
Kicker: Mitch Johnson, freshman (Bellevue, WA / Bellevue HS)
Did not see game action in his first year with the team and has four seasons of eligibility remaining
Punter/kicker: Sean Covington, freshman (Treasure Island, FL / St. Petersburg HS)
High school: Listed as the No. 3-ranked punter in the nation by … Ranked as the nation’s No. 2 kicker by and the No. 113 recruit in the state of Florida … Rated the nation’s No. 12 kicker by … Played in the Under Armour All-American Game in Orlando, FL - kicked three field goals (31, 30, 25) and punted eight times (40.8 yards average) … Booted a school record field goal of 57 yards … Averaged 46.5 yards per punt (school record) as a senior, with 12 kicks inside the twenty-yard line … Connected on eight of 11 field goal attempts … Booted 29 of his 34 kickoffs for touchbacks … Also earned four letters in soccer, as a goalie and team captain
"Covington has to replace Jeff Locke, one of the nation’s top punters the past four years. Locke was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings. Before leaving for the NFL, Locke spent time tutoring Covington this summer. 'He helped me a lot with my form and muscle memory,' Covington said. No one is expecting him to be Locke. Said assistant coach Jeff Ulbrich: 'Sean’s a true freshman. That’s telling, isn’t it?' Covington is also receiving helpful advice from kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn, who was also thrown in as a true freshman last fall. 'What a great resource for him,' Ulbrich said. Ka’imi went through it last year and it is still fresh to him'.”
Long snapper: Christopher Longo, sophomore (La Canada, CA / St. Francis HS)
"Longo spent the last two seasons learning from Kevin McDermott. 'He was one of the best snappers in college football,' Longo said. 'I learned the proper form from him.' Longo is trying to grow into the job. His 6-foot-3, 204-pound frame hardly looks ideal to be the keystone on the line for kicks. His development was slowed by a knee injury that had him on the shelf during spring practice, but he worked out with holder Jerry Neuheisel and kicker Fairbairn this summer. 'We went through some struggles at the start of summer, but we're feeling pretty good about things now,' Longo said. Jeff Ulbrich, who coaches the special teams, said. 'He just lacked some strength. I think the strength is finally coming along and his velocity is coming with it.' Ulbrich believes Longo will get there, saying, 'He has all the accuracy and technique you need'."
Long snapper: Peter Hajimihalis, sophomore (Hunt Valley, MD / St. Paul's HS)
Did not see game action in 2011 & 2012.
Long snapper: Reed Buce, freshman (Peoria, AZ / Centennial HS) 
High School: played offensive tackle, offensive guard, and long snapper... transferred from Glendale Mountain Ridge HS

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