the study of the kicking components within sports

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

UCLA Bruins Kicker, Punter & Snapper News


June 24, 2015 - St. Thomas More kicker Bailey Raborn commits
"Bailey Raborn, who made an unofficial visit and camped at the Los Angeles campus over the weekend, received a scholarship offer Tuesday and committed to the Bruins.... Raborn earned the distinction by catching the attention of UCLA’s coaching staff in Saturday’s kicking camp where the 6-foot, 195-pounder punted in front of coach Jim Mora Jr. and special teams coach Scott White and several other assistants.... Bailey Raborn converted 36 of 39 extra points a year ago, and 62 percent of his kickoffs (49 of 78) were touchbacks. He said he carried a 44-yard punting average with three efforts traveling over 50 yards, including a long of 63 in STM’s Division I state playoff loss to Jesuit. Raborn is regarded as a five-star prospect and the nation’s No. 2 punter by kicking guru Chris Sailer. Raborn also had an offer from Northwestern State with Georgia, Ole Miss and Southern Miss all extending preferred walk-on invitations and LSU expressing interest." - The Advocate

June 11, 2015 - kicker JJ Molson commits
"Maybe the top placekicker in the 2016 recruiting class committed to UCLA on Thursday morning. JJ Molson, a prospect from John Abbott College in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec, Canada, announced his commitment on Twitter. Chris Sailer Kicking grades Molson as the No. 2 kicker in the 2016 class." - Orange County Register

April 25, 2015 - spring game
"Kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn missed his first field goal, but made two impressive scores of approximately 48 and 52 yards." - Go Joe Bruin

November 9, 2014 - teammates want Ka’imi Fairbairn to kick
"UCLA was faced with a fourth-and-21 situation from the 28-yard line with eight minutes left. A field goal would pad to the Bruins' lead. Only, kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn has struggled from long range in his college career. When UCLA Coach Jim Mora called timeout, he felt some pressure from players. 'What was neat was I was kind of contemplating what to do there,' Mora said. 'His teammates didn’t talk me into, but they said he will make it. 'Send him out there and let him kick it. He will make it.' It was resounding.' Mora ran the field goal unit onto the field. Fairbairn was perfect on his 46-yard try in the Bruins' 44-30 victory. It made him nine of 20 in his career from 40-or-more-yards." - LA Times

November 4, 2014 - punter Matt Mengel
"There were several components that were important to UCLA's 17-7 victory, and punter Matt Mengel was among them. Mengel averaged 40.7 yards per punt, but it wasn't so much how far the ball traveled as much as where it landed. Of his seven punts, six put the Wildcats inside their 20-yard line, three inside the 10. 'That feels great,'" Mengel said. 'Now their quarterback has to be thinking, 'Shoot, I got to drive the ball 90 yards against a defense that is on top of its stuff today?' To him, that can only be discouraging.' Mengel was a late addition to the team, coming in after Sean Covington left school. Splitting the punting duties with Adam Searl, Mengel is averaging 39.8 yards per kick. "I have become more consistent hitting the ball 40 or more yards," Mengel said. "It has taken tons of training, working on my drops, working on my form. It's finally starting to come together'." - LA Times

October 18, 2014 - Ka’imi Fairbairn kicks game winner over Cal
"UCLA snap a seven-game skid at California with a 36-34 victory Saturday.... It wasn't easy with the Bruins not taking the lead for good until Ka'imi Fairbairn kicked his third field goal, a 26-yarder with 3:40 remaining that provided the go-ahead score and helped UCLA get back on the winning track after losses to Utah and Oregon." - Fox Sports

October 16, 2014 - kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn
"Fairbairn missed his 11th kick of 40 yards or longer last week against Oregon, a week after missing two long-distance tries to beat Utah. The junior from Hawaii is a respectable 27 of 32 from less than 40 yards during his UCLA career, but he’s now just 8 of 19 from beyond that range, leading some to wonder if coach Mora will continue to opt for field goals outside of the red zone, as opposed to taking a chance on fourth down. 'It’s hard,' Mora said. 'That’s a position where the psyche of that player is so important because it’s a singular moment in time and they’re so isolated. … You just encourage them to improve and perform at their best and help them along, give him guidance'....  With his struggles again in the spotlight the past two weeks, Fairbairn said Tuesday that he believes he can turn things around. 'I think I’m fine,' Fairbairn said. 'I just have to keep working hard and the results will show. I know we need it'." - Los Angeles Register

August 15, 2014 - kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn
Ka’imi Fairbairn ended UCLA's practice Friday by burying a 51-yard field goal that was dead-solid-perfect. That has been a common sight the last two seasons ... at least on the practice field. In games, it has been hit and miss. That, Fairbairn said, should change this season. 'I'm more comfortable, more confident,' he said. 'It seems more simple to me. I just don't get affected by things I can't control'.... Fairbairn has prepared mentally, and physically. 'You can hear the ball come off his foot with more thump,' coach Jim Mora said. Fairbairn explained it in baseball terms. 'It's like a batter, you have good technique to begin with, then you add strength,' he said. 'I have more pop on the ball'.... Fairbairn said he is taking a different approach. 'I learned to block out the noise, whether it's the crowd or the media or whatever,' Fairbairn said. 'It all starts in practice. You make every kick a game-winner so when you get in that situation you feel like you've done it a million times'." - LA Times

August 15, 2014 - punter competition
"UCLA brought in punter Matt Mengel from Long Beach City College to potentially replace all-conference honorable mention Sean Covington, but the newcomer hasn’t locked down a starting job just yet. Instead, redshirt freshman Adam Searl may have inched ahead. The 6-foot, 180-pound Irvine native has seen his workload increase this week, and was used on all the practice punts Friday morning. 'Adam is a guy that’s very, very improved,' said Mora. 'He looks like a guy that can actually get it done. Last year, He was inconsistent. His leg wasn’t great. But he’s had a really good offseason, he works hard, and I trust him.' Sean Flintoft, a walk-on from Loyola High, is also available as both a punter and a kicker. 'It was a real unknown,' Mora said of the punters. 'I was very concerned coming into camp, but watching them here for the last week and a half, I feel like we’re going to be in good shape there'.” - Los Angeles Daily News

July 26, 2014 - punter Sean Covington departs, kicker/punter Matt Mengel enters
"Sophomore punter Sean Covington is no longer with the program, according to sources. Academics were cited as the reason by a good source. UCLA has brought in JC punter Matt Mengel to try to fill the gap of losing its starting punter. Mengel, from Long Beach City College, has a big leg but is inconsistent. Kicker/punter guru Chris Sailer says about Mengel: 'He has an NFL leg. Strongest leg I've seen since David Buehler (USC and Dallas Cowboys). Huge in kickoffs. Big potential as a field goal kicker and punter. The sky is the limit.' Mengel will be a junior. He committed to UCLA yesterday for a preferred walk-on spot with a chance to earn a scholarship. Sources are telling us that UCLA will have a scholarship to give to a punter for the 2015 class." - Bruin Report Online

April 26, 2014 - spring game
"The white team’s best chance to score was punter Sean Covington’s 33-yard field goal attempt, but the kick sailed wide left. Ka’imi Fairbairn didn’t attempt any field goals for the blue team, but hit all four extra points." - Inside UCLA

April 19, 2014 - holder consultant
"Former UCLA punter Jeff Locke returned to UCLA recently with professional advice for the Bruins' special-team players. Locke, now with the Minnesota Vikings, is also a holder and gave Jerry Neuheisel a tip: Lean the ball forward. 'In high school, you lean the ball back because kickers don't have as strong of legs,' said Neuheisel, who holds for UCLA kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn. 'They do in college.' The significance of leaning the ball forward is simple. 'It improves the target,' Fairbairn said. 'You see more of the sweet spot.' It seems to have helped. Fairbairn's accuracy and range have improved considerably, at least during practice. He hit a 52-yarder, only to have it waved off because of a false start. Fairbairn barely missed from 57 yards on the next try." - LA Times

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