Oklahoma State punter Zach Sinor is another of the San Antonio-area players going home for the Alamo Bowl matchup with Colorado on Dec. 29. He's from "Hill Country" school in Medina Valley High School in Castroville, Texas.
Sinor was playing the unique combination of quarterback and defensive tackle when he was punting before a practice and then Medina Valley head coach Brian Emerson, oddly a teammate of mine in high school, saw his booming kicks and switched Sinor's emphasis to punting full-time.
"I was a quarterback, but coach Emerson said I could help the team a lot more by punting the football and then I focused on punting," he said.
Sinor has really developed in college, getting better each season, but seemingly getting better, more technical, and more productive each week of the season.
His stats going into the bowl game reveal a punter that is totally about helping his team and not just flashing a big average. Nationally, Oklahoma State is 14th in net punting and many of the Cowboys kicks come near midfield or in plus territory on the other team's side of the 50.
Sinor has an average of 42.4 yards on 52 punts, but the most amazing number is that 32 of those 52 punts have been downed inside the opponent's 20-yard line. Then 14 of the other 20 kicks, most from deeper in OSU territory have been 50-yard plus punts.
Touchbacks, which are almost always a negative and a yardage loss for the team, need to be kept to a minimum and Sinor has one this season, and it landed inside the 5-yard line and escaped two Cowboy players trying to down it. You could say it wasn't any fault of Sinor's. If there was a punting efficiency rating, and I think there should be, Sinor would be very, very high if not on top.
"It is frustrating when you look at it," Sinor said when asked if he gets frustrated over being left off the finals of awards like the Ray Guy Award. "I see these guys have bigger averages than I do, but average is not doing the most for your team, field position is doing the most for your team. What can you do?"
In Sinor's case, you keep doing what you are doing. He is gold for the Cowboys and he agrees that in a bowl game special teams is magnified. You know less about the opponent because you don't see them all the time and there is lots of practice time to change things up.
Sinor even hinted Colorado does a lot of different things on their punt block and punt return unit.
"I look at the punt return team on how they're lined up on the line of scrimmage," he said. "If they're looking at the ball and they're in the three-point stance, I'm pretty sure they're going to come. Sometimes they like the bluff because they know I actually watch film on it."
Sinor will be ready, he's at home, he has a lot of pride and he also likes to kick indoors, which he'll be doing at the Alamodome.
"It keeps me from having to check the weather and primarily the wind strength and direction."