By Ashley Denny.
TCI had the chance to catch up with Clemson’s starting kicker Chandler Catanzaro after practice on Wednesday and got his take on how he has been doing this spring and what he still has to improve on.
“I’m just trying to get better every day,” Catanzaro said. “Spring is all about getting better, I finished the season strong last season and all I’m trying to do out here is just get better.”
Although Catanzaro struggled in the Tiger’s last stadium scrimmage, making only 3 out of 6 kicks, he has come back stronger after Spring Break and has only missed one field goal since the break.
“Today I went 4-5,” Catanzaro said. “I missed a 50 yarder today but I barely missed it wide left. My range has gotten a lot better though I hit a 53 yarder Monday.”
Catanzaro’s kicking at the beginning of last season was somewhat inconsistent however he has found ways to improve his kicking and knows that he will continue to do well in game situations.
“I’m taking a more direct step to my plant foot for my approach,” Catanzaro said. “That caused a little bit of inconsistency in the past and that’s made me a better kicker. I went back on my stance and now take straight steps to my plant foot instead of going inside, it provides the consistency.”
First year Special Teams Coach Danny Pearman, according to Catanzaro is very focused on improving the kicking game and finding the rhythm that the Tigers need.
When looking back at his freshman season, Catanzaro is proud of what he accomplished.
“I’m proud of what I did,” Catanzaro said. “Not very many people believed that I could do it but I came out and won the starting job, the Auburn game was tough but I put all of my faith in Christ and I just believe I have a great future ahead of me.”
In order to continue to improve his kicking game, Catanzaro will meet with a professional kicker to help him out with his mechanics for a few days in mid June.
Not only has Catanzaro had to change up his kicking style this spring but he has had to get used to a new holder in Dawson Zimmerman due to holder Mike Wade graduating, however Catanzaro feels the transition has been seamless.
“I’m so used to working out here with Dawson,” Catanzaro said. “I’m out here with him all day so we can work whenever we want to on the consistency of the hold, so it was a no brainer that he’d be the holder. It’s been a very smooth transition.”
Although Catanzaro knows that there are several others competing for the starting kicking job, he feels like he has performed well throughout spring and will continue to do so, and is more focused on improving his kicking and hopes that that will be enough to keep him as the starter.