Georgia Tech kicker Scott Blair has made two changes for 2010 season:
1. He has a Mohawk hairstyle. No, it doesn’t make him more aerodynamic. It’s something he and punter Chandler Anderson did in this, Blair’s last season, to make things more fun. “We’re still waiting on the rest of the team to follow,” Blair joked.
2. More importantly, he’s trying to simplify his approach to kicking.
Before last season, Blair tried to fine-tune many of the elements of his specialty, breaking down each segment and trying to perfect them. The results weren’t what he had hoped.
Other than a steller outing against Clemson in week 2 when he hit three field goals and threw a touchdown pass, he missed four out of 10 kicks in season’s first four games, prompting coach Paul Johnson to say that he thought Blair may have reached a point of paralysis by analysis, a phrase commonly used when someone thinks an athlete is thinking too much.
“I do analyze quite a bit of stuff,” Blair said. “I am trying to shorten some of that. I’m just thinking about the target.”
Blair hit three out of his next three attempts during the middle of the season, but missed an important kick against Georgia in home finale.
But again came Clemson, the antidote for whatever ails Blair’s right leg.
In the ACC championship game, he was a perfect four-for-four, with three strikes from more than 40 yards. For the season, he hit 14 of 20 field goals after hitting 12 of 19 during the 2008 season.
He hasn’t resorted to painting orange and purple paws on the footballs this August, but he said he feels he is kicking like the ball like he did against Clemson.
“I’m trying to treat every game like Clemson,” Blair said. “Every game needs to be 100 percent. I’m hitting the ball pretty well, getting great height.”
Assistant coach Mike Sewak said he is using video and stressing the fundamentals to help Blair become more consistent. Sewak said Blair is showing positive signs in practice, despite a rough outing for him and freshman Justin Moore on Sunday in a special teams-focused practice.
“Neither one of those kids have kicked the way their capable of yet,” Johnson said. He did say Blair is still the first-team kicker. “I haven’t seen anything to see anyone beat him out.”
Blair said he will be ready come the Sept. 4 season-opener against S.C State. By focusing mostly on the result, and not on how to get that result, he’s growing more comfortable during practice.
As for kickoffs, Blair handled most of those last year, with Chandler Anderson and Chris Tanner kicking one each during a rough stretch for Blair. Johnson said at media day that he thought the kickoffs were fine, adding he hopes that Tech gets as many chances this year as they did last year.
Now, if Blair could just do something about that Mohawk.
“I don’t know if it will be there for the whole season,” Blair said.