The Two Matts - Senior Specialists on a young team

Matt Leach and Matt Piotrowicz are seniors on a young football team. Having been around Gators football long enough, I have come to understand that kickers are a rare breed. They're usually always looking for fun and for the most part are very laid back. Find out what they have to say about each other as well as their expectations this season.

I asked each to describe their fellow teammate. On Piotrowicz, Leach said, "He's a good guy and has a funny looking shoe. He goes down field and knocks the hell out of people, he kicks the ball real high and he's a hell of a kicker." Likewise, Piotrowicz returned the favor about Leach. "Leach is hitting the ball better than I have ever seen him before. It may be due to the fact he is growing some facial hair. He's poking them pretty good these days."

Piotrowicz or "Petro" as his teammates call him, just graduated with his Bachelor's degree in Business Administration. He plans to continue his college education and is currently enrolled. "I started my graduate degree in sports management / programming. I want to finish up my graduate degree and get my Masters."

On the field the two seniors have been a great reason for the success of the Gators. We asked both what they would love to accomplish before they leave their alma mater. Petro said, "I would love to get the coverage unit back to the top of the SEC and the country. In my freshman year we led the country by holding our opponents to 18.2 yards a return. I would love to get us back to that apex." (How many times do you hear a football player use the word apex?) Leach added, "I would love to leave with the longest field goal record." A tall order, as the current record is 60 yards by Chris Perkins in 1984.Leach still has more than enough leg to do it.

Both players have had many big kicks or tackles or overall highlights. We asked them for their personal best highlight -- for Leach, it was simple: "The Georgia game last year." He kicked the game winning field goal to seal the fate of the Georgia Bulldogs and keep the streak of wins against the hated rival going. Petro has two favorites: "A hit I made in the Vandy game my freshman year or the Orange Bowl." The Orange Bowl he was referring to was when the Gators played Maryland at the end of the 2001 season. Petro had 6 tackles that day on kickoff coverage. Those kinds of numbers are unheard of for a specialist in one game. Six kickoffs are odd enough, but for a team not to finally game plan for the kicker making tackle after tackle is pretty befuddling.

Both agreed there is one thing on the mind of the players this year as to what they want to accomplish -- "A SEC Championship, and whatever else beyond."

These two dedicated seniors certainly will provide the Gators with a lot of highlights in their final season. The success of the season will also depend on them.


Fightin Gators Top Stories