Freshman Punter Challenges for Top Punting Duties

Geoffrey Price came to Notre Dame with impressive punting stats, but like many first-year players, he was positioned behind veteran players and spent his rookie year getting adjusted to Division One football. Irish Eyes talked with Price recently after practice to get his take on how he is progressing.

Geoff Price says he's worked hard over the winter. "Winter conditioning went pretty well<" said Price. "I'm in better shape. I got stronger, my body composition is much better. Overall I am pleased with it."

Price said he worked hard to get his body into top shape. "I weighed in at about 195 pounds; my body fat is about 7-8. We had goal sheets and I tried to set mine pretty lofty, but I came out short a little bit on a couple, but then I got a couple too. We did more specific kicker workouts than everybody else so that means I probably wasn't going to reach my leg press goal, based on previous goals. Overall I think it was successful."

When asked to compare fall practice to spring practice Geoff's reply was, "We really haven't had that many practices yet, but structure-wise it's the same routine. It's a little bit slower in that we're going over the basics and the fundamentals, and we're taking everything step by step."

"I'm more comfortable this spring practice but I'm still nowhere close to where I want to be or where I need to be," Price continued. "I'm still pretty frustrated with myself, but I feel more comfortable and because of that, I should be trying to set more goals for myself and put more pressure on knowing that I've been through it and should be able to accomplish more."

Having the opportunity to observe the first few minutes of daily practice, it is obvious the kickers have a different routine then the rest of the team. Price gave us a view of a typical practice for these specialists, "We'll do the warm-ups along with the team. We take throws along with the receivers and go through the stretch lines. Then during spring ball, we'll do some tackling drills, depending upon the day and the schedule. Other than that, while the rest of the team is doing their drills, we go off to an open field and work our drills like holding for the kickers, line drills, catch snaps."

We just do that for a while and then we start warming up as we know which period is special team period and what we'll be kicking," Price continued. "So if it is punting, we will do light punts before and get ready to go punt; and if it is field goals the next period, we'll go concentrate on field goals before the next period."

He also told us that the kickers are a close group, "We spend all our time together. We have our separate meetings; we're always together. We don't get to go offense against defense or anything like that. Every waking moment we're doing something football, it's pretty much just us. You have to be close or it will make for a miserable time."

Spring practice is quickly reaching the half-way point which means team and individual goals will be evaluated soon. We asked Geoff if he had set goals for this period and he replied quickly, "Yeah, my goal is to prove that I can come out and take over the job and do it successfully. And hopefully go into fall camp slated as number one, or at least be eligible for competition to be number one going into Michigan next year. My ultimate goal is to play as soon as possible, but I've got to get it done."

With the end of spring semester just around the corner, Price shared, "I had a tough first semester. I drew some hard classes. I think I did well considering I took a full class load and football. Second semester is easier. So overall I think I'm going to be fine."

Like most students, he will be happy when the semester is over and said, "I'm going home and enjoy my time off but will keep working out and keep kicking. I'm looking forward to my time at home and spending time with friends. Then in late June, summer school starts and I'll be taking two classes and doing summer conditioning.

From our conversation with Geoff, it is apparent that he is determined to become the number one punter heading into the 2004 season, and we believe he may accomplish this goal. Top Stories