Conservative angles, aggressive strokes.
Alabama punter JK Scott keeps those two things in mind every time he steps on the field. He learned the mantra from PGA golfer Jordan Spieth. Doesn’t matter if it’s a golf ball or football, the goal is to send the object downfield.
When Scott doesn’t follow those rules, things go awry. Evidence is in the 9-yard punt Scott botched against Fresno State.
“I had one last year at Ole Miss, too. I had an 8-yard punt,” Scott said. “Definitely those are some moments where I hit that off the outside of the foot — kind of like I rushed (it), kind of like a fluke thing — but I took too sharp of an angle going right.”
Normally, Scott executes his job flawlessly. The senior finished last year fourth in the nation, averaging 47.2 yards per punt, even with the Ole Miss flop.
Two games into this season, Scott owns a 37.3 average that’s not necessarily reflective of how he has done. Six of his punts were pinpointed inside the 20-yard line. One flew for 53 yards. And his average is still higher than the Crimson Tide’s opponents (31.6).
So far, Scott feels pretty good about his performance.
The 6-foot-6, 204-pound Colorado native almost had to step out of his comfort zone this past weekend during a kickoff return, too.
“I was like, ‘Dang, this guy might score. I might have to make a tackle,’” Scott said. “I don’t know, it’s weird. When he started running, I kind of got a little bit excited. I don’t know why. Maybe go make a play or something.”
It didn’t happen. Scott has never had to actually take someone down. He came close against Auburn last year, but ultimately pushed the guy out of bounds. That doesn’t mean he isn’t comfortable with the idea. He does tackling drills at least once a week.
There are many things Scott does during practice. For the most part, he runs his own schedule. One of the biggest things as a kicker is time management.
“It’s kind of like being a pitcher,” Scott said. “You can’t throw every day or you can’t throw the whole practice. So, I can’t kick all practice and I can’t kick every day.”
If the opportunity arises, Da’Ron Payne wants to shadow Scott for a day.
“Oh yeah, I would,” the 6-foot-2, 308-pound defensive lineman said. “You get to chill in the end zone and stretch a little bit.”
There’s a lot Payne and the rest of the Crimson Tide don’t see.
Sometimes Scott will spend practice inside lifting, running, cross-training or doing Pilates. He has been working on kicking field goals this season, too.
Still, Payne thinks he can punt just like Scott. Maybe not as well, but enough to get the job done.
“Man, I can get you a good 30 or 40 yards,” Payne said.
All depends on the angle of his swing.