The guy you don’t really notice until something horrible happens.
Well, maybe you should notice Josh Pollack before that this year.
With the Arizona Wildcats just over a week from starting the season in Glendale, it appears that despite the coaches not wanting to do it, Pollack will likely be kicking field goals and handling punting duties in the 2016 season.
"I don’t totally feel that," Pollack said when asked if doing both would be a fatigue issue. "There is fatigue, but that comes from being in camp and practicing twice a day sometimes, but I stay on top of my recovery and put myself in the best situations I can to be as ready as I can be every time they ask me to go out there."
The recovery aspect is something that Pollack has learned from Arizona’s previous specialists, Casey Skowron and Drew Riggleman.
"I stay in touch with them," said Pollack. "They were always on top of limiting their reps and staying fresh all the time, so that’s a big thing I learned from both Casey and Drew with their warmups and how they keep their legs from fatiguing out."
When Pollack takes the field for the first time this year, it won’t be the first time in his college career he’s done so. Last season against NAU, the redshirt sophomore kicked two extra points and a kickoff in the 77-13 blowout.
That little bit of experience will help him, at least he says so.
"I mean, it’s the same way for every college kicker," he explained. "You go out there, and the first kick is new and you’ve never had that before. I feel like I’ve had that and got that out of the way."
"I just told myself ‘you know how to kick, you got here and just do your thing’," he said of what he was thinking when he went out for that first extra point. "And I went out there, cleared my head, and kicked the ball like I know how to kick."
"Thankfully it went well and I’m excited to get back out there and do it again."
The only person to punt besides Riggleman last year was Anu Solomon, so when Pollack does that, it’ll be the first time.
And he’d be having to do it after being in a field goal mode either from warmups or during the game.
"It takes a few dry swings," he explained of how he switches gears during practice. "If I get my dry swings before I go out there, I can hit a true ball."
"Not really," he continued when I asked if it’s difficult transitioning from field goal to punt. "There is some differences with the leg swing and everything, but I’ve taken thousands and thousands of reps over these last five or six years that I’ve kicked."
As is the case with all kickers, there’s a lot of downtime during games, practices, and even outside of football. But Josh has found some relaxing things to do with those precious moments of free time.
"It depends on the time of year," Arizona’s do-it-all kicker explained how he spends his free time. "If it’s camp, I like to stay at home. I’ll read sometimes just to relax and clear my head. I’ll take my dog on a walk, so I’ll take her on a walk. It helps clear my head cuz being a kicker is mostly mental, so if you can keep a clear head and keep your confidence high, that’s the best that you can do."
"My happiest days are out on this field, and if I’m happy while I’m on this field, the day’s even better."
Roxy the black lab: the key to a clear mind and a successful kicker.
Watch the full interview here: