Foothold on footwork

Colquitt is go-to guy when Vols need to kick

File photo of Britton Colquitt

Photo by Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

File photo of Britton Colquitt

File photo of Britton Colquitt

Photo by Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

File photo of Britton Colquitt

Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer isn’t worried about Britton Colquitt handling all of the kicking duties this fall.

After all, one player kicking off, punting and kicking extra points and field goals isn’t exactly unprecedented.

Fulmer is quick to point to South Carolina’s Ryan Succop, who earned All-SEC honors last year while handling all three aspects of the kicking game.

“It’s not a concern at all,” Fulmer said. “Succop does it very well for South Carolina. Other people have done it.”

It’s just that no one wearing orange and white has done it a long, long time.

The last time Tennessee used an ironman kicker dates at least to the 1960’s. It might even go back to the single-wing days, says UT sports information director Bud Ford.

Colquitt, like most kickers, did it all at Bearden High School — five years ago.

“I’m pretty comfortable with it,” said Colquitt, a preseason All-SEC selection at punter. “I’m used to doing it from high school.”

A combination of Colquitt’s strong right leg and the slower-than-anticipated development of redshirt freshman Daniel Lincoln makes the junior UT’s best choice for now.

Saturday’s first full scrimmage of the fall helped illustrate the advantages of using Colquitt full time.

He drilled a 51-yarder, as did Lincoln, albeit with more room to spare. He had enough distance on a 56-yard attempt. Only two other UT kickers have connected from a longer distance in a game. He finished 4-of-6 on field goal tries; Lincoln was 4-of-7.

On kickoffs, he was the only one of four kickers to put a ball into the end zone. While Lincoln and others had difficulty kicking inside the 10, Colquitt was consistently putting the ball near the 5 — and he showed the ability to put the ball where coaches want.

That will be key in dealing with the NCAA’s new rule that moves kickoffs back 5 yards to the 30-yard line in an effort to speed up games. Also key will be Colquitt’s mental — and physical — approach to an increased workload.

“Mentally, it will be a new challenge, but it’s something I embrace, something I think can help each aspect of the game,” he says.

Colquitt points out that kicking a football to score points is inherently more emotional than punting.

The mechanics of placekicking aren’t all that different from soccer, where Colquitt helped Bearden finish undefeated in 2002. Punting, despite Colquitt’s occasional celebrations after booming a 60-yarder, is more of a technician’s game.

“There’s more of an excitement level in kicking than punting,” he says. “There’ll be different attitudes involved. My attitude’s pretty nonchalant in punting. I might have to get a little bit more into the game in certain situations for field goals.”

Fulmer has mentioned the possibility of using either Colquitt or Lincoln, depending on the length of the attempt in order to take some of the load off Colquitt.

During offseason workouts and into fall camp, Colquitt has been kicking less in order to preserve his leg for the season when UT appears to need it so much.

Instead of booming punt after punt, he spent more time working on his approach and his drops without actually kicking. Fulmer has used him less during fall camp, too,

Colquitt likens the return to kicking field goals and extra points to “riding a bike.” Punting remains his bread and butter, which it has been for his father Craig, cousin Jimmy and brother Dustin all of whom punted in the NFL.

“It’s still a secondary thing for me (behind) punting,” he said, “because I know that’s more important. But I’ve worked on (placekicking) a lot more than definitely I did in the past.”

During Tuesday morning’s practice, Colquitt was again more consistent than Lincoln. Fulmer said Colquitt could be doing everything this fall, and that the Vols are “back at square one” after making progress earlier in the preseason in the kicking game.

Wherever they are, they’ve got a strong leg to rely on.

“He’s a wonderful weapon,” Fulmer says, “and we’re going to use him every way we can.”

Drew Edwards covers University of Tennessee football. He may be reached at 865-342-6274.

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Comments » 11

DadwasaVol writes:

Good report there eVolution.

Hunter writes:

Anyone else have a hard time figuring out why the NCAA continually tries to speed the game up? It's like there's a picket line outside their offices each off-season chanting, "Give us our Saturdays back - we need to mow the lawn." Football games are the only time of the week that my wife knows she has no right to ask me to do anything! Make them longer - please!!!!

knoxtenor writes:

I think you're missing the point, Hunter. The TV networks (and the advertisers behind them) are demanding shorter games so that they can televise MORE games. So tell your wife that the grass needs to grow longer in the fall so that it'll be greener in the spring, then sit your duff down and watch an SEC triple-header every weekend.

Agent_longball writes:

This kid has come a long was since his drinking problems when he wasn't even on campus yet. I'm sure glad PF gave him a second chance!

CoverOrange writes:

To add to wewhite's answer, longer games mean more dead time watching refs huddle and TV commercials, or worse, TV announcers blabbing about some meaningless something. The game is still only 60 minutes. I always thought of kicking as a talent to be refined, not developed. Strange that Lincoln is struggling so much. Who is actually coaching the kickers? I can't remember.

BOASoldier writes:

not bragging cause I don't drink now ... but if drinking while at college implicates a drinking problem I was a lush, drunk, tore up from the floor up, or whatever you want to call it ... that is just the scene ... I don't think I was ever asked for and ID when going to a party ....

hueypilot writes:

A Colquitt was the best player in one game. The win in Miami. What team have you been watching?

imw8n4u writes:

I was watching against South Carolina when a Colquitt was the best player...

invisiblekid writes:

Hunter, I don't believe it is so much a matter of speeding the game up as creating more time for commercials. Games I went to last year seemed worse than usual with all the commercial breaks. Not so bad watching at home, at least you can flip the channel, grab a beer etc. .

invisiblekid writes:

As far as the kicking game goes, it's not as though my opinion matters, but it seems like Colquitt handling all three should be a concern. I wonder what the plan is if Colquitt gets a pulled hamstring or other injury. Not saying he can't handle the workload but things happen. It's obvious they don't have much confidence in Lincoln or the other kicker/punter they signed last year, Cunningham.

GoVols1 writes:

Seems to me that they'd have to shorten the game a lot more to "televise more games" on a Saturday. I don't know about the rest of you but the only shortage of games is enough of the quality teams playing other quality teams (outside of the SEC, of course). If they shortened the games by 30 minutes what difference would that make for TV scheduling? By the way, Go Vols! BEAT Cal!

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