Sports

Peattie handling pressure of kicking at UM

“Wide left” and “wide right” are two phrases that kickers never want to hear. After his first field goal attempt sailed through the middle of the uprights, Jon Peattie was able to relax and do the job asked of him.
Red shirting as a freshman last year due to injury, Peattie entered this season competing for the starting job as a punter.
“I’m not really nervous anymore, especially after the [Boston College] game,” Peattie said. “There was a fumbled bad snap but we recovered. I usually do well under pressure. When you’re out there, and the crowd is loud, you really do not hear anything. You zone everyone out and just concentrate on what you need to accomplish: getting the ball through the uprights.”
Peattie originally was recruited by Florida when former head coach Steve Spurrier was around, and he was also recruited by Kentucky. The school he was most interested in besides UM, however, was Northwestern, mostly for academic reasons.
“I remember looking into going to Kentucky [at first],” Peattie said. “I sent them my tape and got a response saying that after they reviewed my tape, they realized they did not need a linebacker. Well, if they really looked at my tape they would have known that I am not a linebacker.”
Special teams have received more emphasis this year than usual. Many games have been decided by a field goal or less, and with a new kicker in Peattie, the Hurricanes have to make sure they can handle these critical situations.
“Special teams used to be something that just occurred between offense and defense,” Head Coach Larry Coker said. “But now I think there is more emphasis on it, and universities are actually striving to improve their special teams. We have a specific segment for special teams everyday where we practice certain plays.”
“We do a thing where we create a big play every time,” Peattie said. “We practice punt returns, kickoff returns, and blocking field goals. [Special teams coach Don Solinger] even has some of our top players come in and play for us. Jonathan Vilma is our punt protection blocker, which is a key part of the game. We do everything in practice, so when it comes to game time it will just come naturally.”
Playing wide receiver in high school until he dislocated his shoulder, Peattie decided it was safer to stick to kicking. He spends countless hours studying film during the week, striving to correct any flaws in his kicking.
“It’s great to have film,” Peattie said. “I like to see my technique in order to see what needs to change and how I can improve. It’s helpful that they have someone film us everyday.”
Peattie likes to study the techniques of Mike Vanderjagt of the Indianapolis Colts. Vanderjagt is one of the NFL’s all-time field goal accuracy leaders, and is a model of consistency that Peattie can look up to.
Peattie feels the Hurricanes’ special teams are vital to their overall success.
“I feel that special teams can really generate enthusiasm in a team,” he said. “Devon Hester had a big kick return against Florida. When something like that happens it changes the momentum of a game. It gets me real psyched as a kicker to get out there and finish what our team started, and it is a great feeling to be a part of that this season.”

October 3, 2003

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The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.