VandyMania Interview: Punter Kyle Keown

VandyMania caught up with punter Kyle Keown, the leading candidate to take over the punting position vacated by now graduated Abtin Iranmanesh. Keown discusses Vanderbilt's efforts to improve both punting and placekicking, along with his personal training efforts this summer.

VandyMania: Kyle, what have you been doing with yourself this summer?
Kyle Keown: I've been working at the Carol White kicking camp all summer at Ole Miss and Auburn. I was going to do one at Central Florida but it got cancelled Carol's mom was in the hospital and bad weather. I've also been working at my dad's office, a doctor's office and doing some odd jobs at the hospital.

VandyMania: So you planning on being a doctor too, like your dad?
Kyle Keown: Yes sir.

VandyMania: Tell us more about this Carol White whose camps you've been working at?
Kyle Keown: I don't know if you've heard of her before but she's the first Division I football coach in history to be a women. She was at Georgia Tech under Bill Curry as a defensive line coach. She started taking an interest in kicking and got with a guy named Dobb Storey at Auburn who was a physicist. He was also a kicking coach and worked with Al Del Greco. He had this kicking camp at Auburn for a long time and she studied under him and took over his job when he died. She's a well known kicking instructor. She's been coaching a long time and coached many kickers including Al Del Greco. You can find out more about her at, that's her website.

VandyMania: She's been coaching you?
Kyle Keown: Yes, she's coaching me now. I went to her in high school. Eventually Coach Johnson called her up to ask for names when Greg Johnson left. She gave him my name.

VandyMania: Talk about Vandy's punting situation for 2005 and the players competing to be the punter?
Kyle Keown: It'll be me, Bill Robertson, I guess Bryant Hahnfeldt and probably Daniel Lee; coach always likes to have a lot of players in competition. We'll have to see how that goes but I'm the only true punter on scholarship now. Abtin is gone for sure, he's done, so it's down to me, Bill Robertson, Bryan Hahnfeldt and maybe even Daniel Lee.

VandyMania: How is Daniel Lee as a punter?
Kyle Keown: He never really does it. I think coach just wanted a lot of competition.

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VandyMania: What are you working on personally, in your technique of punting?
Kyle Keown: I've been trying to get a lot more hang time and have really good net [yardage]. I just want to turn the net punting yardage around. We've got a new punt protection scheme and that will help out a lot, I think. I've been trying to hang it a little higher and get better hang time.

VandyMania: You had 11 punts for a 37 yard average in 2004, right?
Kyle Keown: Yeah, I had 11 punts but most of those were from the other side of the 50 so they were pretty close punts.

VandyMania: Kinda like "Pooch" kicks?
Kyle Keown: Yeah, they were kinda like "Pooches". I didn't punt many from the other side of the 50. I had like four that went inside the 20 and had a 62-yarder.

VandyMania: Yeah, that's right! That 62-yarder was one of the longest in Vanderbilt history.
Kyle Keown: It could have been longer but the other team had a delay of game penalty before that which moved it up and it rolled out of the end zone.

VandyMania: Oh, wow. I believe that punt turned out to be the second longest punt in the SEC last season.
Kyle Keown: I believe a couple people had 61 yarders. Jared Cook at Mississippi State had the longest at 68 yards.

VandyMania: Vanderbilt had a rough last few games place kicking last season. What is being done to prevent a repeat of that this season?
Kyle Keown: I think it was basically just all mental for Patrick. He went from being the record holder in Alabama for consecutive extra points, I mean he had never missed an extra point in his life. He goes and he misses one against Eastern Kentucky and he lost all confidence in himself after that. He had no confidence in himself to make anything. He's a solid kicker. He just needs to get his mind right and get his confidence back. He's listening to CDs to get him more relaxed and build up his confidence. A lot of professional athletes use these. It's just a mind game right now. Kicking is so mental. We don't really have a specific coach to help us out so we are all like on our own, helping each other out. Patrick, I just saw him kicking yesterday. He's doing great. If he can do it in a game and get his confidence back he'll be kicking it through the uprights.

VandyMania: What do you know about Bryant Hahnfeldt?
Kyle Keown: I talked to Bryant yesterday for quite a while. I think he's going to do real well and fit in with the team.

VandyMania: So where are you headed next?
Kyle Keown: I'm on my way to Virginia Tech tomorrow to do the camp up there. I get a lot out of this by teaching these kids how to kick and it really helps me out to figure out what I'm doing wrong and also, I get instruction from Carol White and also, I get to kick with all these kickers from other colleges like Auburn, North Carolina State, Clemson, Georgia, all these guys like that; just networking and helping each other out. This will be my last camp this summer.

VandyMania: Kyle, thanks for your time. We wish you the best of luck during the 2005 season.

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