Kicking


  by - Radio Host - 2013-09-10 08:07:55.0
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Kicking
Danny FordDanny Ford
Former Head Coach
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's best teams featured excellent kicking games.  The Tigers had great punters and kickers like David Sims, Dale Hatcher, Chris Gardocki, Obed Ariri, Donald Igwebuike, and David Treadwell.

Bobby Bowden said that the goal of every offense is to end each possession with a kick instead of a turnover.  Obviously the point after touchdowns was preferred to field goals, but punting the ball was also preferred to turnovers.

This season Clemson has two weapons in the kicking game.

Most people know of Chandler CatanzaroChandler Catanzaro
Gr. Punter / Kicker
#39 6-2, 195
Greenville, SC

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.  The Cat Man is two for two this season on field goals with a 24-yarder against Georgia and a 38-yarder against South Carolina State.  He is also perfect in his point after tries this season.

Catanzaro has made 28 of his last 29 field goals.  He is 42 for 48 over the last two seasons and first two games this year.  He has game-winners that clinched the division title against Wake Forest in 2011 and a win at the Chick-fil-a Bowl against LSU last season.

I think Clemson fans know they have one of the nation's best kickers in Catanzaro, and the staff certainly knows they have a weapon they can count on.  Catanzaro is poised and confident.  He has been as good as any kicker in the country in the past two seasons.

But a name that many are noticing for the first time this year is Bradley PinionBradley Pinion
So. Punter
#92 6-5, 230
Concord, NC

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.

So far this season Pinion has kicked off and punted a combined 24 times and the opponent has totaled 51 return yards.  The sophomore is 12 of 13 on kickoffs going for touchbacks, and the kickoff that was returned from deep in the end zone only came out to the 25-yard line.  Therefore, the opponent has started at its own 25-yard line every time Pinion has kicked off this season.

The North Carolina native has punted 12 times and the opponent has 26 return yards.  Seven of Pinion's 12 punts have gone at least 41 yards.  He has hit five of over 50 yards.  Only one of Pinion’s punts has been returned for more than four yards.

On the season, Pinion is averaging 43.8 yards per punt and 41.4 net yards per punt.

But the starting field position is the real key. On all 13 of Pinion’s kickoffs the opponent has started at the 25-yard line.  On his 11 punts, opponents have started at their own 20, 3, 14, 19, 34, 43, 36, 34, 20, 41 and 13-yard lines. Those numbers average out to a start on the 25-yard line.  Therefore, combining his 13 kickoffs and 11 punts the opponent starts, on average, at the 25 yard line.

Only twice this season have opponents started a possession after a Pinion kick or punt better than their own 36-yard line. Six times they have started at their own 20-yard line or worse.

Clemson is improving on defense, but winning the field position battle with the kicking game is a big part of that.  The defensive staff feels much better when the opponent takes over after a kick thanks to Pinion.

Kicking is only part of the equation. The long snapper, Phillip FajgenbaumPhillip Fajgenbaum
Gr. Long Snapper
#52 6-0, 220
Raleigh, NC

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, and short snapper, Michael SobeskiMichael Sobeski
RS Jr. Long Snapper
#75 6-2, 205
Roebuck, SC

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, have been outstanding over the last two seasons.  There is a new holder this season in Corbin JenkinsCorbin Jenkins
RS Jr. Kicker
#32 5-10, 175
Conway, SC

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and everything has been smooth sailing so far.

Finally, you have to give Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
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and special teams coach Danny PearmanDanny Pearman
Assistant Head Coach / Tight Ends
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a lot of credit.  Swinney grew up playing for and coaching under Gene Stallings, and special teams was pounded in his head in Tuscaloosa.  Pearman played for and coached under coach Ford here at Clemson and coached under Stallings at Alabama.  He also coached under Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech, so he has learned a great deal about special teams from those three legends.

The kicking game appears to be in very good shape this season and I look for it to be a weapon in a close game at some point this season.


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Defensive Tackle
#98 6-2, 310
Thomasville, GA

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