Monday, September 26, 2011

Do bad teams produce great punters?

    Tyler Campbell is turning out to be one of the best punters in the country. He is, in fact, one of the few bright spots on the Rebel football team. Of course, he's had lots of practice.
    His ability as a punter isn't measured just in the average number of yards kicked. He frequently uses a rugby-style kick that allows the Rebels to down the ball within the opponents 10-yard line. A longer punt would bring them out to the 20.
    Looking back, one of the last great punters Ole Miss has had was Jim Miller, back in the horrible Steve Sloan era (I think he played one year under Ken Cooper). Jim had lots of practice, too! He went on to play NFL ball for several years before retiring (I've heard due to homesickness). He is coaching and teaching in his hometown of Ripley, Miss.
    Perhaps if time permits I could take a look at some of the better punters to enter the NFL and compare their ability to the quality of the teams they come from. Something tells me bad or mediocre teams tend to produce great punters. Necessity is, after all, the mother of invention.
    While looking up information on Miller, I found a great newspaper article on Hoppy Langley, who was a kicker (not punter) for the Rebels, I think from 1976 to 1980. The article appeared in the Aiken, S.C. Standard in 2009.     The article struck me as one of the better sports feature stories I've read, particularly since it came from a newspaper with a mere 16,000 circulation.
Here's the link: Former Aiken High player visits grave of great.

UPDATED 9-28-13 to repair link.

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