Price Working to be No. 1

Junior punter Geoff Price has one goal coming out of spring practice and that is to be the No. 1 punter for the Irish. So far in his career, Price has punted in two games and has averaged 44.5 yards on two punts. The Hurst, Texas, native is confident of winning the starting job, but he is not taking anything for granted and says he worked hard over the winter to eliminate his biggest problem.

"Obviously it's been my consistency," said Geoff Price when asked what has kept him off the field thus far in his career. "I have always been told that I have a pretty strong leg and that I have all the physical abilities, but I just haven't channeled it out all the time consistently.

"The biggest part of the kicking game is, you have to be consistent, and I just wasn't consistent enough to get all there and show my potential, and I often made mistakes. My biggest emphasis this off-season has been to limit those mistakes and not worry about hitting a 70-yard bomb all the time, but to get that 40-yard average every time so that is the biggest thing."

Along with being more consistent, the junior is working on his overall techniquel. "There are various things and the kicking game is so funny because you can miss something by a quarter of an inch and everything will go awry. This year I have been working on shortening my steps. I am a big, tall guy and sometimes I will over-stride and that messes up my drop and other things. A big thing for me this winter and spring is, I want to get those short steps and try to stay compact and so far it is going pretty well, and I'm pretty excited about it."

Price has sought outside help in the past to improve his kicking but with mixed results. "I have worked with some people, and the funny thing about it, there is not just one way to do it. There is not one technique that is right for everybody and you have to figure it out," he explained. "I think one of my problems early on is that I was raw and just did it natural, and somebody tried to teach me their way and only their way. I tried to follow it and it ended up not working for me. So I had to revert back and digress a little bit back to the way I used to do it and tried to figure out what works for me and not what works for someone else.

"I have to mold my game around what I can do best, not what they can do. Right now I am basically working by myself and figuring what is right for me and what feels comfortable for me. I've watched a lot of tape of pro guys and successful college guys to see what they do, trying to just bring bits and pieces of their game and trying to mold it and see what is comfortable for me. I'm not working with one individual but trying to find out what is right for me."

Weather conditions play an important role in the kicking game and can affect the off-season kicking routine, but the native Texan does not use the weather as an excuse, "During the off-season the other kickers and I have tried to kick a few times a week, about two or three times a week. But with the South Bend weather, it has been hard to get out there. We have gone out there a few times but lately we haven't been outside.

"It is different coming from a warm weather climate to a cold one, but I have been here for awhile so it shouldn't matter anymore. But you can ask any kicker, we don't like wind, we don't like cold, but a lot of people don't understand; watching us they're like ‘oh why can't he kick it farther.' They don't understand the wind in a stadium - you never know which way it is going. The flags can be going this way but the wind on the floor is actually going the other way. It's a challenge but it is something we have to overcome."

This spring looks like a golden opportunity for Price, but there is competition and he is not taking anything for granted. "Right now, it's me and two other guys on the team, Bobby Renkes and Carl Gioia, and I think there is another guy coming in but I don't know," Price said. "I haven't been given the job, and I have to earn it still. It's not that because DJ is gone and I'm here that I automatically get it. I have to perform well, but it is nice to know that a little bit of the pressure is off and I can relax out there and go out there and try to perform better. I think it is a little bit easier on me and I'm doing better with it."


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