Kicker trains in the Rocky Mountains to play at sea level
While training in the offseason, junior kicker Matt Hogan made a career-long field goal of 71 yards.
If No. 46 gets called upon in the closing seconds of a game, he is certainly not lacking in confidence.
“I’m pretty dialed in right now,” Hogan said. “I’m feeling pretty good about the season.”
While the kicker is not afraid of performing in high-pressure situations, do not expect to see Hogan contributing in the field position game as a punter.
His focus is strictly field goals and points after touchdowns.
“Honestly I can’t punt to save the world,” he said. “I am not a punter. I tried but it’s not my forte.
“I didn’t do it in high school. I had the luxury of going to school with two of my best friends. One was a year younger than me, one was a year older than me. One ended up at Baylor and one ended up A&M so I didn’t have to punt at all.”
Those who think kickers spend the least amount of time practicing are mistaken. Just like any other position, Hogan trains year-round to improve.
He travels to Colorado for part of the summer to work on the finer points of kicking with John Weaver.
Weaver, a former Texas Tech kicker, has coached Hogan since high school.
“In the summer I stay there for workouts, and try to kick two or three times a week to keep my leg in fine tune,” Hogan said.
“In July I go to a camp in Colorado. I trained for three weeks in Golden, Colo. before training camp. We kick two times a day. If we’re not kicking twice a day, we’re running sprints and doing yoga, core and ab workouts.”
Training in the high altitude helps Hogan’s endurance, but he said it has no affect in how the ball moves.
“I usually die when we run after a week up there,” he said.
“Then I get used to it and I come down here and feel like Superman with my lungs. Elevation doesn’t really affect the ball too much.”
By showing diligence in his craft, Hogan has earned the respect of his peers and coaches. Special teams coordinator Tony Levine said he admires the way Hogan prepares.
“He does an exceptional job,” Levine said. “I’ve been fortunate to coach a Lou Groza award winner when I was at Louisville. I coached three other kickers in the NFL, and he’s as good as any other guy I’ve coached. His work ethic and his focus, and mental preparation in what he does are second to none. What they do is so specific.
“In theory you can stand on the sideline for 59-and-a-half minutes, and come out and get one opportunity in front of 70,000 people on national TV, and have to perform. He does a tremendous job. He doesn’t show up, he puts a lot of work into it in season and in offseason with strength and conditioning.”