Insider Exclusive: Q&A with K Billy Vinnedge

Mike Kranzler continues his interview with Wyoming kicker/punter Billy Vinnedge for SDBoltReport.com's Premium subscribers as they discuss Vinnedge's high school career, learning from Mike Scifres and Nate Kaeding, and the strengths and weaknesses of his game. Look inside for more…

Michael Kranzler: You were an outstanding three-sport athlete in high school (he played football, soccer, and baseball for Arroyo Grande High School), receiving All-League or better honors in all three sports. What made you decide to concentrate on football?

Billy Vinnedge: I think pretty much going to college and having a scholarship there, and getting an education. In baseball, if I had gotten a scholarship, I probably would have gone the baseball route because it's by far my favorite sport, but baseball didn't get me any scholarships, and I got one for football, so that's what made me turn that way.

MK: What made you decide to take the Junior College route to playing college football?

BV: Education-wise, I needed to get a lot of classes out of the way, and I think it just gets you ready for college more instead of going right out and being a freshman right out of high school. I think a lot of people aren't ready, so I made that decision because I thought it would make me a little more mature and get me ready for college a little more.

MK: What is it like learning from two of the best in the business in Mike Scifres and Nate Kaeding?

BV: I don't think you can beat it. You've got Scifres, one of the best punters, and you've got Kaeding, one of the best kickers, they already gave me some tips, and then you've got [Steve] Crosby, one of the best special teams coaches out there. Just the chance to be there and learn from all those guys, I don't think I could beat that by being anywhere else.

MK: Mike Scifres is pretty much the top punter in the NFL when it comes to placing kicks inside the red zone. Has he taught you any tricks of the trade yet to keep the ball from rolling into the end zone?

BV: I've messed with that rugby kick a little bit, but just working that weekend we didn't really do too much. He'll probably get into more detail on that once we get back on the field. But I'm pretty good, I don't do it his way I just sort of try and spiral them up there, I think I had around 30 in college inside the 20. But definitely, I'm interested in learning that way from him because it seems to be pretty effective.

MK: What do you feel are your biggest strengths and weaknesses in your kicking game?

BV: I think I have a lot of strength in my kickoffs, and my punting game is pretty strong. Field goals are probably my weakest right now because I've got to get used to kicking off the grass, because I have been kicking off the turf for the last few years. I think it will only take a couple of weeks to get doing that. But overall, I feel strong at everything right now, a lot stronger right now than I did in my senior season.

MK: Is there anything that you want to say to all the Chargers fans out there or that you would want them to know about you?

BV: I'm just excited to be here, I know they have their guys, but I'm just excited to go out there and get the opportunity to play in the preseason, and growing up in California I'm excited to play in front of all of the fans out there.

Click here for the rest of this interview, where Vinnedge talks about coming home to play football, the life of a family man and the transition from the college game to the NFL.


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