Colquitt looks to follow in brother's footsteps

It's tough not to compare.

Both share the same last name, the same jersey number, and the same kicking lineage.

Most of all, they share the same booming kicks.

Even Tennessee assistant Steve Caldwell, who oversees UT's special teams, sees the similarities between brothers Britton and Dustin Colquitt.

"I can't remember that much difference in them," Caldwell said comparing the two brothers. "I think Britton is hitting the ball a little bit better right now as a true freshman than Dustin did."

"I'm really happy with where he (Britton) is right now. He's gotten off to a great start."

Caldwell hasn't been the only one impressed with Britton.

"Oohs" and "aahs" are a common practice-field occurrence when the new Colquitt unleashes a 50-yard bomb that seems higher than it is long. At times, it seems like Dustin is still on campus averaging 45 yards per punt instead of waiting for April 23, the date of the NFL draft.

The brothers' punts look the same. But they have not traveled the same kicking path to develop their trade.

Dustin, the better natural athlete of the two who was named an All-South soccer player, only punted during his senior year at Bearden High School before coming to UT.

Britton punted throughout high school and relies more on fundamentals to carry his kicks. Although different, they do have one important aspect in common.

"They both have a little cocky attitude, which is fine," Caldwell said. You have to have that. You have to think you're the best. I think that's in the bloodline."

Britton is the fourth Colquitt punter at UT. Britton and Dustin's father, Craig, kicked at UT from 1975-77 and played in the NFL for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Their uncle, Jimmy, was the Vols' punter from 1981-84.

Caldwell credits Britton's improved flexibility for his fast start. Caldwell said that was an area that needed off-season improvement.

Caldwell knows that kicking is a unique challenge in football. Calm is more important than aggression and big-game jitters can ruin a punter's day and his team's chances to win.

"The first time we walk in that stadium, it can be a little different," Caldwell said cautiously.

Dustin struggled early in his career despite booming punts in practice. He averaged 36.8 yards per punt in UT's first six games, then, 45.1 in the next six.

It's impossible to say if Britton will face the same struggles, but his almost happy-go-lucky attitude may well help him in pressure situations. He has already overcome the stigma associated with his three alcohol-related arrests in 2004. Those close to him say the "new Britton Colquitt" has matured in response to those legal issues.

Caldwell said Britton's experience last season should also help the transition. He redshirted last season and traveled on several road trips to cheer on his brother. UT faces hostile environments at Gainesville and Baton Rouge in the first month of the season.

Britton hasn't shied away from comparisons to his brother. During the off-season, he switched jersey numbers from No. 90 to his brother's vacated No. 47. When asked if he was going to uphold the recent tradition of the jersey number, Britton said with a smile, "I hope so."

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