Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Mailbag question: Why not Zoltan as the place kicker?
Why can't we use Zoltan as a place-kicker/field goal kicker this year? He's done it before. I guarantee you he would be great at it. Why does he only have to be the punter?
Thanks for the question.
Today's football, even at the high school and college levels, is so specialized it is very difficult for one athlete to excel at both punting and place-kicking. Yes, over the years several kickers have accomplished this feat; coming to mind is Lou Sakoda, the great kicker from Utah, who made the long field goal that was the difference maker in the opener last year. Sakoda is the exception to the rule.
The amount of time needed and the amount of practice necessary to excel at both skills makes this challenge difficult.
Players who try to carry out both jobs also risk getting “tired leg,” something that would effect both punting and kicking. Mesko also took available time for learning to punt the squib and directional punting, which Coach Rod is known for.
Bottom line: Mesko is too valuable as a punter to risk a potential decline that might be associated with picking up extra duties. And frankly we have no idea how he would perform as a field goal kicker, given that it has been several years since he place-kicked in high school. A strong leg does not guarantee kicking the ball in-between the goalposts in front of a crowd at Michigan Stadium.
However, take this thought with you to end the conversation: If Michigan had 3 seconds left to win a game and the ball was spotted on the 41 yard line (making it a 58 yarder), has Michigan practiced Zoltan at all on a do-or die situation, where only he could reach the crossbar? One never knows.
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Written by CoachBt and ErocWolverine