Missouri Tigers’ place kicker Tucker McCann will see additional time on the field this year, doubling as Mizzou’s punter.
It’s uncommon to see star players stay on a collegiate roster for a full four years. For the last four, Mizzou was fortunate to have a punter with a big leg in Corey Fatony.
Fatony’s last appearance for the Tigers occurred during Mizzou’s appearance in the Liberty Bowl. Now, McCann finds himself in a unique position not many collegiate football players find themselves in: Handling placekicking duties, kickoffs and punts.
McCann has had his ups and downs as the Tigers’ placekicker. This year’s additional responsibilities will be challenging, since the mechanics of both are not entirely the same. Bennett Durando, of The Missourian, goes into greater detail, but here’s the “Cliffs Notes” version.
Missouri Tigers Football
Most, if not all, kickers use a soccer-style kick on the football. What that means is they don’t line up straight behind the ball, and they don’t kick it head-on. When the kicker makes contact with the ball, his kicking leg crosses in front of him.
Oddly enough — or not — many years ago, I tried my leg at punting. I assure you, what looks easy on TV, is not. I was told that I got pretty good at it after a while, but never had the opportunity to test it in a live game.
When punting the football, McCann will have to do at least a couple of things he’s not accustomed to, which is the drop-kick, and keeping his leg straight throughout the punt. If he can also get the ball to spiral off the side of his foot, then that will make for a better hang time, than a punt that goes end-over-end.
Since I played soccer at various points in my childhood, and a couple of years in college, I can attest, punting a football is not something one does successfully, overnight. For that matter, placekicking a football is a whole other skill unto itself.
Whether we agree with the decision to entrust McCann to all of the team’s literal “footballing,” does not really matter. He has earned the trust and confidence from coach Barry Odom, and his teammates.
As a former soccer player and having learned and practiced a bit of McCann’s new craft myself, I am excited to see how McCann progresses, and believe he will do well at both positions in his final year at Missouri.