Emphasizing ‘A Natural Style of Kicking and Punting’®, Coach Zauner’s teaching philosophy facilitates an environment where kicking specialists develop the skills, technique, and confidence to achieve their maximum physical and mental potential. At an amateur and professional level, Coach Zauner, LLC programs and events provide a kicker, punter or snapper ‘A Specialist’s Path to PRO Football'®...Coach Zauner, LLC Mission Statement

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Kevin Harper U of Pittsburgh

On Friday and Saturday Kevin Harper (University of Pittsburgh) and his father Jay were in Scottsdale, Arizona for some One on One Kicking Lessons. Kevin is a red shirt freshmen kicker at the University of Pittsburgh and is looking to take over Conner Lee's kicking chores next year for the Panthers.

Kevin started his first lesson a little rough by doing some bad warm up drills that I believe give him bad muscle memory and effect his regular kicking technique.

Kevin set a state record 61 yard field goal in his hometown and has a strong leg. His father has taken him to several kicking camps and instructors but has not found anyone who can make him more consistent.

Jay googled my name after he heard about me on Sirius NFL Radio last fall and setup an appointment before spring practice starts.

Kevin was an excellent student and was a quick fix in most drills. In the photos above and below I am working fundamentals drills on foot position and transfer technique.

At the beginning of the first lesson Kevin was pushing and pulling his field goals. After the second lesson he was stripping them down the middle.

We moved to kickoffs at the end of the second lesson and once again Kevin started kicking much better than when he started the day before.

Kevin and his father were both very happy after the two days of One on One Kicking and Kickoff Lessons and said they wanted to come back later this summer.

Click to listen to Jay Harper's testimonial about his son's Kevin One on One Kicking Lessons with Coach Zauner.

It was a pleasure working with Kevin. He was not only a nice young man but was also very coach able and a quick fix on many of the adjustments we made. I wish him the best of luck next year with those Pittsburgh Panthers.

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LSU's Colt David & Brady Dalfrey

On Thursday and Friday two of LSU's Kicking Specialists were in Scottsdale, Arizona for some One on One Kicking and Punting Lessons. They both are graduating and trying to get ready for their pro day in March. Kicker, Colt David (left) and Punter Brady Dalfrey (right) are in the above photo. The weather once again was excellent and in the low 80's.

LSU's Brady Dalfrey caught my eye right away. After his warm up he launched a couple of booming punts that were 4.9 to 5.0 second hang times.

As you can see in the above photo Brady has excellent flexibility and extension. However, even though Brady was booming some big time punts I saw that his drop technique needed a tourniquet.

Brady has attended several kicking camps and has been in division 1 football for four years. It is really too bad that during his time in college, nobody has helped him or made him improve his drop technique or mechanics.

For two days we worked on Basic Fundamentals and my Drop Progression Drill. Drills that that I felt would help Brady become a more consistent punter. The road to success if you have a big leg is consistency.

In above photo Brady is working my drop progression drill.

When Brady actually dropped the ball rather than tossed the ball to his foot he hit some great (SNO) spiral nose over punts with regularity. Brady was making progress.

If he gets his drop right he has a good chance to be playing on Sundays. If he doesn't he will be watching T.V. on Sunday's with millions of other football fans.

At the end of the first session we worked on kickoffs. I must say he has a pretty good kickoff leg.

Click to listen to LSU's Brady Dalfreys Testimonial on Working with Coach Zauner:

I wish Brady the best of luck in March on his pro day and also in his pursuit of and NFL career.

Next Man Up is LSU's former Kicker, Colt David. Great Name!

LSU's Colt David started his One on One Kicking Lessons and I must say this young man also caught my eye with the pop, explosion and the trajectory he hit his first couple of balls.

He reminded me of last years One on One stand out student, Garrett Hartley. Garrett was from the U. of Oklahoma, and is now the current N.O. Saints Kicker. As a side note, Garrett will be in town on Sunday to work on his kickoff technique.

When I mentioned that to Colt, he said Garrett and him played and competed against each other in high school. He had that look of fiery competition in his eyes when I mentioned Garrett's name. I hoped he took my comments as a compliment.

As Colt kicked I asked questions and took some sequential camera shots to study his technique. After the first session we had a great video session in which I pointed out a couple of flaws. Colt agreed and we went to work the next day refining his technique.

In the above photo we worked on Colts target line and perfect triangle. His steps were a little inconsistent causing him to push or pull some of his kicks.

Last year Colt injured himself early in the season. Many times kickers after a ankle, hip or groin injury unknowingly change their swing or technique. Colt during the video session noticed he was not kicking the same as previous year. The eye in the sky never lies.

In the above photo we are working some drills to get Colt to kick up and through the ball and come to balance.

By the end of the second session Colt was kicking more consistently up and through the ball and skipping down field. However, I told him it is going to take time to do it naturally. Drill work and repetitions in front of a mirror would help him tremendously.

At the end of both sessions we worked on kickoffs. Colt did not kickoff last season because of his injury and wants to show NFL Scouts he can do it.

We ran out of time. However, both Colt and Brady said they wanted to come back as soon as possible to work on more fundamentals and technique.

Click below to listen to LSU's Colt Davids Testimonial on working with Coach Zauner:

I wish Colt the best of luck on his pro day in March and also in his pursuit of a job as a kicker in the NFL.

In the above photo with the the kicking specialists from LSU is my new assistant, James Wilhoit former University of Tennessee Kicker. There was some real jawing going on for two days.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

U of Pittsburgh Mark Estermyer

For the last two days Mark Estermyer, Long Snapper from the University of Pittsburgh was in Scottsdale, Arizona for two days of One on One Snapping Lessons.

Mark is ranked by the NFL Scouting Services as one of the best snappers coming out of college for this years NFL draft.

I first saw Mark practicing at the 2009 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. The day I saw Mark he was a little inconsistent. We talked after practice and I mentioned a couple of things to him. He and his agent decided to send Mark out to Scottsdale for some One on One Lessons.

During the first session we videotaped his technique from all angles and had an excellent video review. I noted that Mark had a couple of flaws in his technique and I addressed how we could fix them.

The second session we worked on a routine and drills that would help Mark refine his technique and make him more consistent and accurate. He was a quick fix.

In the photo above Mark is working my Elbow Thrust and Hands Drill.

In this photo Mark is working a Snap & Vertical Set Drill.

Next, we progressed to Snap, Protect and Coverage Drill.

During our field goal session we worked on the 'Perfect Laces Drill'. Once we figured out Mark's distance he was a machine. He hit 25 perfect laces in a row.

Mark was here training and trying to be the best he can be. He is here refining his skills to prepare for his Pro Day in March.

Mark was good and now is better. I saw some kicking specialists at the NFL Combine last week that think they are good but are not fundamentally sound.

The difference in making it to the NFL is not potential but performance. Some players just don't understand the level they need to perform at to make it in the NFL. Everyone needs to aspire to their highest level and do whatever it takes to get there.

Click below to listen to University of Pittsburgh's Mark Estermyer's testimonial on working a two day One on One Snapping Lesson with Coach Zauner.

It was a pleasure working with Mark and I wish him the best of luck at his Pro Day workout and in this year's upcoming NFL Draft.

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Russell Warrington's Lessons

On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Russell Warrington was in Scottsdale, Arizona for three days of some One on One Punting Lessons. Russell is 29 years old and has aspirations of being an NFL punter.
He is driven to succeed and continually got better during our three day One on One Punting Lessons.

Russell at about 6'3 and 210 pounds, has the ideal body for a punter.

However, like most punters Russell needed a lot of work on fundamentals. I introduced my Drop Progression and One Step Drill. Russell worked hard on and off the field and improved.

Russell told me he had never been coached. He came to to me with some bad habits and he was bound and determined to work hard to get fundamentally sound. In the photo below we are working a none punting drill to emphasize leg extension a follow through.

By the end of the three day One on One Punting Lesson Russell was hitting more (SNO) spiral nose over punts to the power zone.

Click to listen to Russell Warrington's Testimonial on working with Coach Zauner:

Russell has now learned some drills to emphasize the fundamentals he needs to work on to get to the next level. My interest is to teach everyone coming here the proper fundamentals, drills, technique and training methods to get better.

I also try to educate them. that the road to the NFL is not an easy road. Hard work, dedication and fundamentals is the key to every one's success. Russell has all those qualities.

NFL Special Teams Coaches and Scouts have standards of performance. How Far, How High and How Accurate... that's the bottom line.

Russell now knows what he needs to do to improve and what numbers he needs to achieve to have a chance to get into an NFL training camp.

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Specialists from Northern Alabama

On Sunday and Monday I had two of the Blues Brothers look a likes here in Scottsdale, Arizona for some One on One Lessons. The two kicking specialists from Northern Alabama, Will Batson (Punter) and Kenny Spencer (Kicker) were here for two days of One on One Punting and Kicking Lessons. The weather both days was in the low 80's.

The weather in Alabama has not been the best this year and the guys wanted to get some training and One on One instructional help so they can have a good senior season.

Kenny Spencer, Norther Alabama's Kicker, is about 6' and about 225 pounds and showed me a pretty strong leg. During the two days we worked on getting his foot to ball contact more consistent.

We also made a slight adjustment with his approach angle. Kenny had a tendency to get his foot wrapped a little around the ball causing him to pull or draw the ball left. A minor approach angle adjustment was all he needed for him to start kicking the ball straight down the middle.

At the end of the workouts Kenny showed me some good technique and leg strength on his directional kickoffs.

It was a pleasure working with Kenny and I wish him the best of luck this upcoming season.

Will Baston, Northern Alabama's Punter, is about 6'4 and about 205 pounds and has good size for a punter. Will has a lot of upside but like most punters is a little fundamentally unsound. Will has learned some bad habits and fundamentals during his career and is here for some One on One Punting Lessons to get better. Basically refining his punting skills.

As you can see in the photo below Will has been taught to drop the ball with the nose up. Some players might drop the ball with the nose a little up but Will had the ball tilted dramatically up. The ball must eventually get flat or nose down to achieve a (SNO) spiral nose over punt.

For two days I just worked basic fundamentals with Will. I taught him my Drop Progression and One Step Drills. By the end of the second day Will was getting his drop right and turning over a lot more balls.

With a better flat or nose down drop Will started to hit more power zone punts with regular consistency.

Northern Alabama is blessed to have two kicking specialists with talent. I wish Will the best of luck in this upcoming season.

At the end of the lesson all three Blues Brothers look-a-likes took a photo. These guys made me look good!

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

2009 NFL Combine - Day 4

Friday night I was networking again. I had a great conversation with the Executive Vice President of the NFL, Ray Anderson. Once again the topic was the future of kicking specialists, rosters spots and development programs for specialists.

Ray asked me to send him my ideas because he said, the time is right for this type of discussion.

So, next week I will draft up a letter and a list of ideas and get it off to the NFL office. Just trying to be a voice for the kicking specialist and the kicking game.

I moved around the stadium and I saw my friend and former Baltimore Ravens Head Coach, Brian Billick working a NFL Network broadcast with Mike Mayock. I've known Brian since 1979 and believe me, he's a natural when it comes to talking.

In the photo below is the NFL Network crew doing a live broadcast. Rich Eisen, Brian Billick and Mike Mayock. They are broadcasting the entire NFL Combine until next Tuesday.

This morning, I was up early and at Lucas Oil Stadium to continue networking. It was a busy day for me with some top brass people.

I had a great conversation about Coach Zauner's NFL Free Agent Camp with the General Manager of the New York Giants, Jerry Reese. He seemed very receptive to sending someone from his organization.

Next, I ran into the Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh. I showed my list of players and plan. He said the Ravens will be there. John broke into the NFL and was the Special Teams Coach for the Philadelphia Eagles for many years. He has done an outstanding job as the Ravens Head Coach and his success may open up the doors for other Special Teams Coaches... go John!

The above photo is of the inside of Lucas Oil Stadium and a group of offensive linemen getting ready to run their 40 yard dashes.

As I moved through the stadium I finally saw my good friend and new Head Coach of the New York Jets, Rex Ryan. Rex and I coached together for four years with the Ravens. We had some great times on and off the field. I wish Rex the best of luck in his new position with the Jets. Rex said the Jets would have somebody at my April 6th Free Agent Specialists NFL Combine.

After four long days and nights in Indianapolis I'm ready to get back home to Fountain Hills, Arizona where the temperature is in the mid 70's. As you can see in the photo below as I left the Lucas Oil Stadium it was snowing and the temperature was in the low 20's.

I believe my trip to the NFL Combine was very successful. I met, talked and networked with a lot of NFL people. The secret to any one's success is sometimes not what you know but who you know.

As I am sitting at the Indianapolis airport finishing my blog, Russ Grimm, Arizona Cardinals offensive line coach has just sat down next to me and we are going to talk more football. We were on the same flight up to Indy and now on the same flight back home. Go Cardinals!

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Friday, February 20, 2009

2009 NFL Combine - Day 3

Last night at the Westin Hotel I had a great conversation with Mike Mayock who is the draft guru for the NFL Network. I think Mike and the staff at the NFL Network do an outstanding job covering games, the NFL Combine and the NFL Draft in April.

Mike and I talked at length about kicking specialists. He agreed that not many people really know how to evaluate and rank kicking specialists and that is why even he calls many NFL Special Teams Coaches to get their opinions and rankings.

I mentioned that I'm always available for evaluations, interviews or information to any network or writer to promote specialists and the kicking game.

During the last two days and evenings I got a chance to introduce myself to all the 2009 NFL Combine Kicking Specialists either at the Crown Plaza Hotel or at the meetings areas. I must say there was a wide variety of personalities present this week.

Some of the specialists were very quiet and others you might say were not so quiet. Everyone prepares for games and competition in various ways. This is why teams and coaches interview most of the players present. Teams do not just draft players because of talent, intelligence and personalities play a big part in teams evaluations.

Today was an exciting day for me because it was the first day of workouts and the kicking specialists were up at 1:00 PM trying to impress the 32 NFL GM's, Head Coaches, Special Teams Coaches and personnel people.

This morning while the players were finishing up on tests and other meeting with Combine officials and preparing for their workout I was working the stadium looking for Special Teams Coaches.

I was really proud of myself. Before the workout started at 1:00 PM I actually talked to 30 of 32 Special Teams Coaches in person and handed them my lists of Free Agents I will have at my April 6th Free Agent Specialists NFL Combine in Scottsdale, Arizona. Of the two Special Team Coaches I didn't see I did talk to the Directors of Pro Personnel for their teams.

Today I talked to the following Special Teams Coaches:

Bobby April - Bills
Alan Lowry - Titans
Joe Marciano - Texans
Jerry Rosburg - Ravens
Danny Smith - Redskins
Tom Quinn - Giants
Rich Bisaccia - Buccaneers
Steve Hoffman - new K.C. Chiefs Coach
Mike Priefer - former K.C. and current Broncos Coach
Ted Daisher - former Browns and current Eagles Coach
Danny Grossman - Carolina
John Bonamego - Dolphins
Brian Murphy - new Viking Coach
Tom McMahon - new Rams Coach
Ray Rychleski - new Colts Coach
Bobby DePaul - Director Pro Personnel Chicago Bears

The workout began on time and the players all warmed up. The snappers started the event with some individual work while the punters were warming up. A couple of the NFL Coaches put Sean Griffin (Michigan) and Jacob Ingram (Hawaii) through some snapping drills.

When Sean and Jacob finished snapping for the drills the snappers they now had to snap for the punting workout. The punters each punted 14 balls. They started with 8 open field punts and finished with 6 directional pooch punts.

I recorded hang times and distances. I really didn't care about get offs because most of the punters didn't have the luxury of punting with a snapper the last two months. I was simply evaluating their style, technique and potential. In other words leg strength and explosion.

The order for the Punters was #1 Justin Brantly (Texas A & M), #3 Britton Colquitt (Tennessee), #4 Matt Fodge (Oklahoma State), #5 Graham Gano (Florida State), #6 Kevin Huber (Cincinnati), #8 Tim Masthay (Kentucky), and #9 Thomas Morstead (SMU).

After the punting workout was finished they progressed to evaluating everyone that wanted to kickoff.

This section is always important to me and the other coaches because you can see who has a big leg! Every so often even if a kicker or punter might not have the talent or potential to be the starting kicker or punter he might be able to make a roster as a kickoff specialists.

The kickoff workout consisted of a total of 11 kickoffs. The first 5 kickoffs were straight down the middle. We recorded hang times and distances. The last 6 kickoffs were directional. Three kickoffs to the right corner and three to the left.

The order for Kickoffs was #2 David Buehler (USC), #3 Britton Colquitt, #4 Matt Fodge, #5 Graham Gano, #7 Jose Martinez (UTEP), #8 Tim Masthay, #9 Thomas Morstead, #10 Louie Sakoda (Utah), and #10 Sam Swank (Wake Forest).

I must say a couple of players not only impressed me but also the other coaches in the stadium. They had good strong and powerful legs. At least this year there were several kickoffs into the end zone with excellent hang times.

The field goal workout was last. The field goal workout consisted of an elevation drill and progressed to a 15 field goal workout from both hashes.

Each kicker had 3 kicks at each distance. They alternated hashes starting with 30 yard field goals and progressed back to 35, 40 and 45 yards. The last 3 kicks were from 50 yards right down the middle.

Once again the order was set by numbers: #2 David Buehler, #3 Britton Colquitt, #5 Graham Gano, #7 Jose Martinez, #9 Thomas Morstead, #10 Louie Sakoda and #11 Sam Swank.

This was one of the first years the NFL Combine let several players do multiple events. Britton Colquitt (Tennessee), and Thomas Morstead both punted, kicked off and kicked field goals. The guys were dead tired at the end of the workout.

Then at the end of the workout they had the kicking specialist do the 225 pound bench press test. None of the special teams coaches attended because they were all sprinting to the airport to catch flights. However I did observe the event. This is optional for the kickers and punters however, the snappers always get tested.

David Buehler, Tim Masthay and Thomas Morstead all participated in the bench press workout. This really isn't important to us coaches. All we care is how far, how straight and how high the guys can kick or punt the football.

For the record Thomas Morstead had the first most impressive 19 reps but was out done by 25 reps by David Buehler.

The event is over for me. I now have all the information I need to evaluate these players to all the other players around the country that did not get invited to the NFL Combine.

Last year two of the players I trained in March, Brett Kern (Broncos) and Garrett Hartley (Saints) both earned spots on NFL rosters as free agents. Brett, Garrett along with Brandon Cantu (Seahawks), Conner Barth (Chiefs), Steve Hauschka (Ravens), and Dan Carpenter (Dolphins) all made NFL rosters as free agents and none of them were here at the combine.

The players that attended the NFL Combine have a leg up on some of the other talent because they were showcased here. However, the NFL has a lot of scouts and personnel people. Every NFL team that needs a kicking specialist will be beating the bushes for the best player to fill their situation.

Last year Denver Broncos General Manager & Personnel, Jim Goodman asked me to find them a punter and kicker. I recommended Brett Kern and Garrett Hartley. After the draft the Broncos signed both players to free agent contracts. I must be doing something right.

Stay Tuned for more of Coach Zauner's Blog from the NFL Combine.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

2009 NFL Combine - Day 2

I have been to Indianapolis and the RCA Dome attending the NFL Combine I believe for 19 years as a College Coach, an NFL Special Teams Coordinator and now as a Consultant.

Not too much has changed in the 19 years except now there is a brand new football stadium which is Lucas Oil Stadium. This will be my first visit inside the new facility. In the photo below it looks beautiful.

Thursday was a full day of networking with NFL GM's, Head Coaches, Directors of Personnel, Special Teams Coaches and Scouts.

During my 13 years in the NFL as a Special Teams Coach with the Vikings, Ravens and Cardinals I made a lot of friends and probably a few enemies. (I hope not a lot!)

My mission is to get as many teams to attend (my) Coach Zauner's Free Agent Specialists NFL Combine, April 6th in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The morning went unbelievable well with meeting Roger Goodell (NFL Commissioner), Ray Anderson (NFL Executive VP), Mike Pereira (NFL's Head of Officials), Bill Polian (Colts), Ozzie Newsome (Ravens), George Kokinis (GM Browns), and Jeff Ireland (GM Dolphins).

It was great seeing Ozzie Newsome. Ozzie and I played a few rounds of golf while I was the Special Teams Coach in Baltimore with the Ravens. Ozzie is a class act and one heck of a General Manager. with a high performance rating within the leagues NFL Draft or trades. As for his golf game, well that's another matter. We had some great times together on and off the field.

Later in the day my old friend and the new General Manager of the Cleveland Browns, George Kokinis tapped me on the shoulder and said "hi". George was brought through the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens system under Ozzier Newsome.

George and I had some great conversations about special teams players and kicking specialists. George is a task master when it comes to personnel and will do a heck of a job for the Browns.

Then there's Jeff Ireland, General Manager for the Miami Dolphins. Back in 1992 when I was a kicking consultant for the Chicago Bears under Head Coach Mike Ditka, Jeff was a free agent placekicker from Baylor. Boy has he come a long way and fast!

My networking continued at the Westin Hotel. I had a chance to talk to Jack Del Rio, Jacksonville Jaguars Head Coach and one of my former players at the Minnesota Vikings. Next I talked to Cincinnati Head Coach Marvin Lewis. Marvin and I coached together back in the mid 80's at the University of New Mexico.

I moved down the hallway to spend time talking to Carolina Head Coach John Fox and Tennessee Titans Head Coach Jeff Fisher. I've known John for a long time since our days when we were both coaches back in San Diego at different schools.

My mission went on. During the course of the afternoon and evening I got a chance to meet up and talk to a large part of the NFL Special Teams Coaches. I believe they liked my Free Agent Specialists NFL Combine idea and most were impressed with the list of players I had coming.

The List of NFL Special Teams Coaches I talked to so far:

Mike Westhoff - New York Jets
Bruce DeHaven - Seattle Seahawks
Al Everest - S.F. 49ers
Scottie O'Brien - former Broncos and current Patriots
Brad Seely - former New England Patriots and current Browns
Joe DeCamillis - former Jaguars and current Cowboys
Greg McMahon - New Orleans Saints
Darrin Simmons - Cincinnati Bengals
Steve Crosby - San Diego Chargers
Stan Kwan - Detroit Lions
Keith Armstrong - Atlanta Falcons
Kevin O'Day - New York Jets S.T. Assistant
Kevin Spencer - Arizona Cardinals
John Fassel - Oakland Raiders
Russ Purnell - former Colts and current Jaguars
Shawn Slocum - Green Bay Packers
Bob Ligashesky - Super Bowl Champs Pittsburgh Steelers

It is Friday morning as I write this blog and I have talked to half of the Special Teams Coaches. Today is a big day because at 1:00 PM the Kicking Specialist start the combine with their workouts and right after most of the Special Teams Coaches are sprinting to the airport to catch flights.

I look forward to the kicking specialists workout this afternoon. I love to evaluate talent. I and all the Special Teams Coaches will see how good this group is compared to previous years. On paper this group looks pretty good.

Stay Tuned for More of Coach Zauner's Blog from the NFL Combine.