Britton says go, dad says no

Britton Colquitt isn't sure father knows best, even though his dad won two Super Bowl rings while punting for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Colquitt, Tennessee's All-SEC punter, would like to handle the kickoff and placekicking duties as well.

Tennessee has no record of any player handling the punting and placekicking duties on a full-time basis in the same season.

There's a reason: The techniques are different.

Britton Colquitt said that won't stop him.

His father, Craig Colquitt, isn't so sure.

``I'm not as concerned about my mechanics as much as my dad,'' said Colquitt, who ranked seventh in the nation last year with a 44.9-yard punting average. ``He's worried about it.''

Why isn't Britton?

``I've played soccer all my life,'' said Colquitt, a junior. ``The field-goal kicking motion is what I've always done. Punting is the different one. I've worked so much on punting, I don't feel like I'll lose that at all.

``Every time I kick a field goal, it's coming back to me, like playing soccer. That's why it feels so natural. I don't feel mechanics will bother me. It's a different swing, definitely. But it's not going to bother me as much as my dad thinks.

``I know better than my dad.''

We'll see.

Britton's dad knows a thing or two about punting – and kicking. Craig Colquitt led the Vols in punting three consecutive years (1975-77). His high mark: 45.0.

Craig has helped coach both of his sons on the finer points of punting. Oldest son Dustin is an accomplished punter with the Kansas City Chiefs. Britton actually has the stronger leg, and he's got a chance to make his mark in UT history.

Britton, a preseason Playboy All-American, ranks second on UT's all-time chart with a 42.8 career average. If he averages 45 yards his last two seasons, he likely would surpass his cousin, Jimmy Colquitt, at No. 1. Jimmy averaged 43.9 for his career with a high of 46.9.

Third on the career list is Dustin Colquitt (42.6).

Craig is fourth on the chart (42.5).

And since 1975, a Colquitt has led Tennessee in punting 13 times.

But no Tennessee player since at least 1960 has led the team in punting and kick scoring. Plus, there is the added duty of kicking off.

``I think it's going to be fun,'' Colquitt said of trying to be a triple threat. ``Playing soccer and basketball and other sports all my life, it makes me feel like more of an athlete than just a punter.

``Obviously, punting is the most important thing for me and that's my forte. But handling all the duties, if it doesn't stress my leg out too much and I can maintain consistency at both and not let one affect the other in a negative way, then it's fine.

``I enjoy it and I embrace it and I'm excited about doing it.''

Of course, redshirt freshman kicker Daniel Lincoln could have something to say about all this. Lincoln is determined to win the kickoff and placekicking jobs. After being bothered by an injury last year, Lincoln said he's healthy and kicking well. He also said his range is equal to Colquitt's on kickoffs and field goals.

Colquitt said he worked as much during the offseason on punting as he usually does, but he added more kicking to the routine. He said he didn't work much on kickoffs ``because that's such a strain on your leg.''

Colquitt kicked a 52-yard field goal in the spring game. He said his range is about 55 yards. He said he could count on one hand the number of missed field goals he had during the spring. Perhaps that's because he was kicking pressure free.

``I said, `This isn't the end of the world if I miss it; just hit it like an extra point,''' Colquitt said.

If thrust into duty to kick field goals, Colquitt doesn't think he'll stress out.

``I don't think kicking will add much anxiety,'' Colquitt said. ``I've been in big situations. I've been in the back of the end zone (punting) at Florida.''

Colquitt would like to improve on his punting average, which is the fourth-best in school history. He might have trouble reaching Jimmy's 46.9, but Dustin's 45.3 and Craig's 45.0 are within reach.

And he'd like to prove he's versatile.

``I want to be a perfectionist in everything I do,'' Colquitt said. ``If I get a chance to kick, I want to do that as well as I punt.''

He thinks he can.

His dad isn't sure.

We'll find out this fall if father knows best.


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