By Ashley Denny.
CLEMSON, SC- After an inconsistent season as Clemson’s starting place kicker, sophomore Chandler Catanzaro knew that he would have to step up his game during the off season in order to keep his starting job. Instead of kicking on his own though, Catanzaro was fortunate to get a chance to work with NFL great Morten Anderson, who not only helped Catanzaro with his technique but also with how to prepare on the sideline before going out to kick a field goal.
“I kicked with Morten Anderson over the summer and he helped me a lot with my technique,” Catanzaro said. “He tweaked my technique a little bit but we worked mostly on the mental stuff such as how to prepare on the sideline before going out to kick. He taught me how many balls to kick into the net, when to be ready and have my helmet on ready to go, mostly visualization stuff.”
Anderson, who kicked for several years in the NFL, takes a few kickers each year and works with them, gave great advice to Catanzaro on how to get past his mediocre performance in 2010 for the Tigers.
“It was awesome working with someone who’s spent so many years in the NFL,” Catanzaro said. “He’s been through everything, and told me to use last season as a learning experience and that’s what I’m doing. I’ve grown stronger from it and am very confident going into this season.”
Overall, Catanzaro believes that the kicking unit is getting better every day, and because of that he has become more confident kicking the ball.
“Our unit, snapper, holder and kicker, are just more consistent this year, we’re just getting better every day.” Catanzaro said. “It’s not so much that I’ve become a more confident kicker, ever since Phillip Fajgenbaum came in at the end of the season last year at long snapper, we’ve become much more solid as a unit.”
Personally, Catanzaro feels like he’s improved a lot over the off season by adding strength to his leg and working with Anderson over the summer.
“I think my leg has gotten much stronger over the off season,” Catanzaro said. “I’ve probably added 5 yards to my field goals. I think I’m kicking the ball great right now, making about 84% of my field goals.”
As for the competition between he and freshman kicker Ammon Lakip for the starting place kicker spot, Catanzaro is unsure of who is in the lead at this point but is mainly focusing on improving his game and knows that if he keeps kicking the way he has throughout fall camp, he’ll get his chance to kick again during game day.
“I’m not really sure how the competition is going,” Catanzaro said. “All I know is I’m kicking about 84%, and I’m feeling really good about it.”