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Thursday, March 12, 2009

U. of Georgia Punter Drew Butler

On Tuesday and Wednesday Drew Butler, University of Georgia Punter was in Scottsdale, Arizona for some One on One Punting Lessons. Drew is the son of former Chicago Bears Kicker, Kevin Butler.

A fact for the readers. Kevin Butler is the only kicker to date to be named to the College Hall of Fame. That is not only a distinguished but a very prestigious or elite award amongst the inductees to the Hall of Fame.

Kevin and I go way back in our relationship. In the photo below you see me as a young kicking consultant with the Chicago Bears. Chicago Bears Head Coach Mike Ditka hired me as a Kicking Consultant to come in and help their special teams coach and work and train Kevin Butler and Chris Gardocki in mini-camp, training camp and during the 1992 season.

During that spring, summer and fall Kevin and I spent many hours together on and off the field. Matter of fact a couple of times I stay as a house guest with Kevin and his wife Cathy and the kids. I believe at that time Drew was about 3 or 4 years old running around the house like most kids being active.

How time flies...

Today, Drew is a big, good looking athlete and has the potential to be a heck of a punter at the University of Georgia. He has the size, leg and athleticism. He has been coached by his father and has some good fundamentals.

However, Kevin was a kicker. Kevin admits that he does not know that much about punting and that is why he brought his son Drew here to Scottsdale.

In the photo above, I am noticing that during Drew's drop drill he is dropping the ball outside his hip. He was not aware that he was doing this until he saw himself during the video session.

While Drew worked drills and punted during the lesson his father watched and observed. Like many fathers, Kevin jumped in and tried to coach his son only once. Like I have done in the past to any parent I asked Kevin to stay at the other end of the field and let me coach.

In the photo below you now see Kevin watching from afar as Drew and I work on his power zone punting technique.

Drew has an abundance of talent and potential. Like most punters in college he had a couple of minor flaws in his technique. In the video review sessions Drew was a sponge. He watched and studied the video and listened intently to my comments. As I made my comments the points of emphasis became crystal clear to Drew.

When we went to the field the next day he had a very good visual picture on what he needed to do to improve his technique.

Drew is a very good golfer! When I make many of my analogies on kicking and punting I use the game of golf and its skills as a reference. Drew and I were exactly on the same wave length or the same page of the same book. Some people think their on the same page but in a different book, as one of my former coaches, George Allen use to say.

At the end of Drew's final session everything started to click or come together. He drilled five out of six punts to his power zone that where far and high. He boomed five punts that must have been 50 plus yards with 4.75 to 5.0 second hang times. For a sophomore in college that's pretty darn good. The third lesson continued at a different venue, the golf course. Drew is a big strong punter with a big leg and also is a big strong golfer that can hit a golf ball a country mile.

The 18 hole skins match went back and forth for a while. I had not played a lot of golf lately but Drew was bringing out my competitive spirit. Drew took a commanding lead. His youth and big drives were starting to dominate the match. Kevin was unable to play because of a wrist injury but watched the match with interest.

In the first year of my consulting business, none of these young kicking specialists had come to my home course and beat me yet. My record had been perfect. Drew was kicking my butt!

With two holes to play I had to invoke for athletes and coaches the famous 'Aloha Press'. Kevin knew the term and told Drew he had to accept. Drew accepted and the match was on. If Drew was going to win the match he needed to win one of the last two holes.

In the above photo you see Drew and I exchanging $1.oo bills. I won the last two holes to tie the match. Kevin suggested a chip off. Drew, with his youth wanted to go back to hole #1, a par five and decide the match. I wanted a tie and Drew wanted another birdie.
Being my home course, I decided that a tie is better than a loss... the house rules!

Click below to listen to Kevin Butler's testimonial on watching his son, Drew Butler's One on One Punting Lesson with Coach Zauner.

I have been so busy I have not had a lot of time to play golf. But having Kevin, an old friend and his son come to town, I had to make time.

Kevin and Cathy Butler have done an outstanding job raising their son. Drew was a pleasure to work with and a very pleasant and polite young man. He was also a very coach able athlete and a quick fix when it came to refining his technique.

I would think that if Drew keeps up his progress in refining his technique that in two to three years he will become one of the nations leading punters and a 'Ray Guy' finalist.

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