The pressures of punting and kicking
They are sometimes the most overlooked positions in football yet are often the most pivotal people on the field. Of course, I’m talking about kickers and punters. I recently caught up with Wilson kicker Hunter Rubright and Elizabethtown punter Austin Hilsher to talk about their impact on their teams.
“You get respect but not as much respect. If you miss a field goal; you get the blame for it. If you muff a punt that only goes 20 yards; it’s all kind of put on you.” Hilsher said. “My teammates do a good job of making me feel good if I have a good punt though.”
Rubright also admitted that there is a lot more pressure on the kicking specialists than people may think.
“Kickers have so much pressure on them and you don’t understand what’s going on in their heads,” the Wilson senior said. “It’s just a mind game. “
Rubright makes a valid point whenever it comes to praising and faulting the specialists. At any point, a made field goal can catapult a kicker to a hero. On the flipside, a missed field goal late in the game can turn the kicker into the goat.
“When the game is on the line and three points away, the kickers are the main guy to go to.” Rubright said. “They have all the control on the field.”
There is an equal amount of pressure on punters. A booming punt can completely flip the
field and give a team dominant field position. A muffed punt however, can put the opponent in your redzone without them really doing anything.
“My favorite thing is when we’re backed up inside our 20 and I get ahold of one and take it down to their 20 so my defense has good field position,” Hilsher said.
Both Rubright and Hilsher have hopes of kicking at the at the college level and have been attending kicking camps for quite some time. Hilsher has traveled to camps in Pittsburgh, Orlando, Wisconsin as well as being a regular participant at Kohl’s Kicking Camp held at Manheim Central High School.
“Right now, it’s whatever they’ll take me at. If a school needs a punter, I can punt. If they need a kicker, I’d be glad to kick,” Hilsher said.