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Saturday, July 5, 2008

One on One with Dragosavich

Mike Dragosavich former North Dakota State All-American Punter, who was recently release by the New England Patriots is in Scottsdale, Arizona for One on One Punting Lessons.

Mike is a good looking 6'6 and 215 pound punter with a lot of potential or upside. I noticed him at the NFL combine because he hit several big punts during the warm up session. However, during the competition he did not perform as well. I noticed he was not fundamentally sound in a couple of areas.

This morning he started with his normal warm up. As always, he worked his drills and punted and I asked a lot of questions. He gave me answers that basically told me that he has been practicing a lot of drills that are giving him incorrect fundamentals and bad muscle memory.

Mike has never had any formal instruction or training by a punting coach. He started as a receiver at North Dakota State and turned into a good college punter. He was invited to the NFL Combine, signed by the New England Patriots and was recently released.

After One session I can tell Mike has NFL potential but needs to become more consistent.

Two things I immediately noticed when Mike did his drills and punted was he placed the ball outside his hip and cocked the nose of the football up when he placed the ball on the table. On many of his one step and regular punts he dropped the ball nose up and punted a bunch of (SNU) spiral nose up punts. Punters that are consistent drop the ball flat or slightly nose down to hit a (SNO) spiral nose over, power zone punt.

Mike came to Scottsdale placing the ball slightly outside his hip!

Mike was not only placing the ball outside his hip, but low with the nose up!

That's a No, No!

A low drop table just wasn't working for Mike who is 6'6". With a low drop table Mike's was not hitting the ball consistently and his hang times were only 4.3 to 4.6 seconds. By the end of the third lesson, we raised Mike's drop table slightly higher and he was starting to punt more (SNO) spiral nose over punts to his power zone with hang times from 4.7 to 5.1 seconds. Mike actually hit a hang time of 5.27 seconds.

At the end of the third lesson Mike was placing the ball directly in front of punting leg!

Mike now with a higher drop table and a flat to nose down drop!

The key to working with any punter or kicker is making the correct adjustments. The adjustment I made with Mike's drop was actually nothing new for him.

Mike Dragosavoich is probably one of the funniest young men I have met. Thursday night after watching his practice session he mentioned he was on YouTube . My wife and I watched his video and we laughed endlessly.

We viewed a couple more video's of him on YouTube. One video was an interview during the Senior Bowl and it showed him punting in College. I noticed his drop was much higher in that video.

I asked Mike why did you change your drop? He is such a nice kid and he was not going to pass blame onto anyone else.
So, basically I just put Mike's drop table back the way it was when he was at North Dakota State. In the last 3 months, between the NFL Combine and being cut by the New England Patriots Mike made a couple of changes that I believe really didn't help him be a more consistent punter.

All I know is that Mike said he wished he had come to work with me much earlier this year. He might still be in training camp if he was hitting the ball like he did at the end of his One on One Lessons.

Mike has several minor adjustments to work on when he goes back home. However, he wants to be an NFL punter and is committed to making these changes. Mike now has a couple of new drills to work on when he goes back home. I told him he must work these drills every day so he acquires the correct muscle memory. In two to three weeks the changes we made will be more comfortable and be second nature.

Mike wants to come back to Arizona in four to six weeks so I can review his progress. I know he is now on the right path to becoming an NFL punter.

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