'Kicked Around' by Michael Leahy
Another kicking specialist featured in Michael Leahy’s great article; Kicked Around: Inside footballs loneliest position in the Washing Post, is Clint Stitser, an All-American kicker from Reno and next a star kicker at Fresno State.
Michael’s spent a good amount of time with Clint, and when Michael left Arizona, Clint was still looking for a team. Here is a little bit of how Michael Leahy talked about Clint Stitser in his article:
“Stitser has told Zauner that he would be willing to kick anywhere for the time being, including in the Canadian Football League or the United Football League, and Zauner has tried to get a read on the job market for him. When a CFL coach called Zauner for recommendations, Zauner mentioned Stitser. The coach responded that somebody connected with the Jets had told him that Stitser hadn't fared well at their camp. Zauner called Stitser and said, "Clint, when that kind of rumor starts going around, that's not good.' "
"I just had a bad day with the Jets," Stitser protested.
"Clint, you know how I feel about a bad day," Zauner replied. "What have I said? You can't afford a bad day."
Well, since that time Clint has also had some good days. And he recently had one good day in particular.
After Michael left, and shortly before his article came out, Clint was signed to the Cincinnati Bengals.
I first met Clint Stitser when he attended my 2010 Free Agent Specialist’s Combine March 27, 2010.
Before that Combine, I had heard about Clint’s kicking ability but had never seen him kick live. During his evaluation with me -to qualify for the Combine- and again at the Combine- in front of all the NFL, CFL & UFL coaches and scouts- Clint had an excellent day.
As a matter of fact Clint kicked well enough for the New York Jets signed him about a week later.
As Michael points out in his article, Clint signed with the Jets and gets cut a couple of weeks later. What Michael didn’t write was in August, Clint also signs with the Seattle Seahawks during the preseason to fill in for injured Olindo Mare.
He was waived when Mare got healthy.
I try to follow the career paths of kicking specialists that attend my College Senior or Free Agent Specialist’s Combines. Once they have attended my events (or One on One Kicking, Punting or Snapping Lessons) I feel I have a better sense of who they are as a kicking specialist.
I went back to review Clint’s video I saw a couple of things that I thought I could help him with improving his consistency on field goals and kickoffs. In September we talked and he agreed there were a few of things that he could improve.
Tom Mante, Coach Zauner and Clint Stitser
Coincidently Michael Leahy was coming to Phoenix at the same time Clint, and former Yale punter/kicker Tom Mante were coming in for One on One Kicking and Punting Lessons.
Sequential Camera Shots To Analyze
Sequential Camera Shots & Video From All Angles
Tom Mante Holds As Clint Stitser Works Technique
During my kicking lesson with Clint I asked him a lot of questions and he gave me excellent feedback.
After the lesson we went back to my office to analyze Clint's video. As we reviewed the video I pointed out areas I thought he could improve.
We also watched video of several other NFL kickers I had worked with over the last two years including Billy Cundiff (Baltimore Ravens), Josh Scobee (Jacksonville Jaguars), Sebastian Janikowski (Oakland Raiders), Garrett Hartley (New Orleans Saints).
When I conduct lessons, I think it’s important for kicking specialists who are working to improve their technique to watch other kicking specialists who have gone through the same process.
On Tuesday I gave Clint a set of drills that I thought would help him improve his technique. The drills were designed to help Clint eliminate an arm bar and crunch. The key for any kicker is to get the proper muscle memory, so proper drills are extremely important in a kicker’s path to improvement.
I told Clint, it would take two to three weeks for him to become more comfortable with his new swing but it would be well worth it.
Clint said he was pleased with the results of our time working together. He said he now knew exactly what he needed to do to get better; which to me that meant he would never again tell me he was having a ‘bad day’.
He might have a bad ‘kick’, but never a bad ‘day’.
And it seems Clint’s days just keep getting better.
On Monday November 29, 2010 I received a phone call from the Cincinnati Bengals asking about kickers. I recommended three or four specialists, and the Bengals flew in three of the kickers I recommended. Clint worked out Tuesday morning and Tuesday afternoon he was signed.
In Clint’s first game he was 3 for 3 on field goals and he made a pressure 47 yard field goal with the score tied at 27. The Bengals took the lead in the last couple of minutes but lost to the Saints 34 -30 on a last minute touchdown.
The life of a kicker changes week to week. The second game he had one PAT. The Bengals lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 23 to 7.
This past Sunday, Clint kicked four field goals, helping his team get a victory over the interstate rival Cleveland Browns 19 to 17.
Michael Leahy quoted me in his article as saying "Clint has a chance to be a good steady kicker”. Well, I believe he does. And as I do with all the kickers I work with, I will be watching to see how Clint fares as he transitions into the NFL.
So far he is off to a very good start to what I hope will be a great NFL career.
Click below to listen to Clint Stitser’s Testimonial after working his kicking lessons with kicking coach Coach Zauner.