Atlanta Training Session Recap: April 12, 2015
Today’s Atlanta session was fantastic. We had some guys hitting some very impressive balls out there despite some windy conditions at times. Our structure for camp was slightly different than usual in light of our Invitational coming up within a few days. Typically we will focus on one or two specific drills that are geared to ingrain a specific muscle memory into our guys for either punting, field goals, or kick offs, and then work in a few full steps to finish off camp. Camp on Sunday was spent doing much more full step and live snap to kicking for all three phases so our guys could get some last minute work in on each in preparation for next weekend’s event. A few guys stood out early in our punting phase of camp. Perhaps the most impressive punting performance of the day came from 2018 kicker/punter Jake Carmada. Jake is a big Freshman at 6’2, 185 lbs, and has an exceptional leg to boot. Jake’s overall form and commitment to his technique since he started training a few months ago has allowed him to compete with guys three and four years older than him. He hit multiple punts of over 50 yards with 4.5 second hang during our live snap and kick period. Jake should be one of the top ranked guys in the nation over the next few years if he continues to work hard. Blake Gillikan, ESPN’s 4th ranked punter in the class of 2016, was impressive as usual. Blake is coming off of soccer season for his high school, so it was good to see he hasn’t lost much consistency with his drop and his steps. 2017 kicker/punter Martin Rodriguez really made some good strides with his drop during camp. We worked with Martin to get his ball moving flat out from his body and ‘floating’ vs. dropping it straight up and down, causing him to sit back and lose power when punting. Martin made the adjustment almost immediately and was hitting some very solid punts out there. 2016 SC punter Jordan Paden continues to show flashes of becoming a very solid punter. Jordan is really working to get control of his 6’3, 225 pound frame by shortening his strides and keeping his entire motion very compact. When he stays within himself, Jordan is capable of hitting 50+ yard punts with over 4.5 second hang consistently.
After punting we moved into field goals and kick offs. I was impressed with a number of guys during our field goal work, specifically 2016 studs Alex Barbir, Mitchell Wasson, and Colton Taylor. Alex has been working hard on keeping his kicking foot open at impact and controlling his leg throughout his motion. Alex sent me a video of him hitting a 67 yard FG off of the ground last week, and backed it up Sunday by smashing a 65 yard attempt off of the crossbar with a fairly strong crosswind coming from left to right at him. Mitchell Wasson continues to get better and better every time we see him. Mitchell has worked hard to add a consistent jab step into his field goals, which equate to his energy transfer and body position during his motion being much more efficient and consistent. Mitchell has film of him hitting a 65 yard field goal off of the ground, and was consistently making 55-60 yard kicks with ease during training yesterday. Mitchell also had a very productive KO session. We moved his steps over on his approach from 6 steps in to 4. This slightly narrower angle of approach on KO really helps to make the transition of energy through the ball downfield easier for guys when they are running and approaching the ball more aggressively than on their FG’s. Mitchell took to the adjustment immediately and consistently was hitting 65-70 yard kick offs with as high as 4.2 hang. Not bad for the first 5 kicks with a new technique. 2016 Colton Taylor from Villa Rica was easily the most improved from his previous few weeks of work. Colton is tall and lanky, but has a strong leg. We have been working on getting Colton to drive with his body more through both KO and FG. Colton has responded and yesterday was consistently hitting from 55 yards on FG off of the ground, and was putting his kick offs between 65-70 yards. This is a dramatic improvement on both, as Colton’s range on FG was more in the 47-50 yard range, and KO range around 60-63 not more than a month or so ago. If Colton can continue to work hard and put on between 10-15 lbs, he will turn a lot of heads during his senior season.