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Friday, June 12, 2009

Utah's Clinton Mower One on One

On Thursday and Friday senior long snapper Clinton Mower, University of Utah, was in Scottsdale, Arizona for some One on One Snapping Lessons.

Clinton is a good looking 6'3 and 240 pound long snapper. Like many senior specialists he was overlooked by the 32 NFL teams after the draft and is looking for employment.

Head Coach Kyle Whittingham, University of Utah played at BYU when I was a coach there during the 1979-80 seasons. Kyle was not only an excellent linebacker but was also an outstanding special teams player.

Kyle was tough and smart just like his father Fred. His father was a former NFL player, long time college and NFL coach. Fred and I coached together and I respected him very much.

Clinton immediately showed me he has NFL potential. He has excellent velocity on his snaps and was very accurate while warming up and during the first part of the lesson. However, I noticed he had two styles of snapping.

When he started snapping at 15 yards he was still snapping fast however, he occasionally fired a couple of stray bullets.

When asked why he snapped two different ways he told me a story that an NFL scout had suggested he try to snap and not look. I suggested he needed to snap one way, deciding which way was going to be the most consistent for him.

Clinton like most college long snappers came from a system where all he had to do is snap and cover down field. He had no blocking assignments or duties.

I believe, this is where NFL scouts have trouble evaluating talent. If they never get a chance to see a college snapper in a protection scheme where he snaps, vertical sets, blocks and covers subsequently, the NFL scout gives a player a lower grade. This year there were very few college snappers drafted or signed to free agent contracts.

After the first lesson we analyzed the video and talked about what Clinton needs to improve on to reach the next level.

I told Clinton that I thought he needs to refine his technique and improve on his accuracy and consistency when snapping and blocking.

Many snappers think they are pretty good, however there are only 32 snapping jobs in the NFL and most are taken year after year by the same person. So, I tell all snappers you have to be more than pretty good.

The second day, I put Clinton through my snap progression drills and he caught on quickly. In the photo below he is working on my 'Elbow Thrust and Slide' drill. We worked on a snapping progression that I think will give Clinton the correct muscle memory that he needs to make him more consistent. More consistent when he is snapping, vertical setting and blocking.

By the end of the second lesson Clinton was not thinking as much and was firing snap after snap on the punters hip and ending up off the ball in the proper position to block a rusher.

We ended the second day lesson with field goal snaps. Clinton again quickly improved his technique and found the rhythm and tempo he needs to hit 'Perfect Laces'. At the end of the two sessions I believe Clinton knows what he needs to work on to get better.

Lee Johnson who I coached at BYU for two years and is a former 18 year NFL punter called me about Clinton. He asked me to help this young man out!

I must say it was a pleasure meeting and working with Clinton. Clinton was very coach able and needs to go back to Utah and work the drills. As I told him in about 3 to 4 weeks he will achieve the muscle memory he needs to just snap and do less thinking. It will all come together.

Click below to listen to Clinton Mower, University of Utah testimonial on working with Coach Zauner:

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