Welcome to a new series in which we try to determine if the Arizona Wildcats’ position groups are in strong, stable, unstable, serious, or critical condition heading into fall camp. Next up are the punters.
Projected starter: Dylan Klumph
Backups: Josh Pollack, Matt Aragon, Jake Glatting
Arizona’s punting game was atrocious in 2017. The long-snapping was suspect after Nick Reinhardt tore his ACL early in the season, and the kicking itself wasn’t any better.
Arizona was dead last in the Pac-12 in punt average, logging just 34.2 yards per kick. That was more than three yards fewer than Oregon, which finished 11th in the conference. Arizona’s field position suffered as a result.
Luckily, the Wildcats made an incredible addition in February when they landed Cal graduate transfer Dylan Klumph.
Klumph averaged 43.0 yards per punt last season with the Golden Bears, the 39th-best mark in college football and the fourth-best in the Pac-12. His career punting average — 43.9 — is the best in Cal history.
Of course, Klumph has to stay healthy and Arizona has to protect him and snap the ball cleanly and accurately, but he should fix UA’s punting woes. Having a new coaching staff that pays more attention to detail should help alleviate the problem as well.
“I’m just continuing to work on fundamentals,” new special teams coach Jeremy Springer said in the spring. “Their drop, their steps, where their hips are going after they kick the ball, where their drop is when they kick the ball, are they kicking with the side of their foot, is the ball inside when they’re kicking it.
“And then overall operation — some people look at the punting and they’re like, ‘it’s the punter’s fault.’ It’s the operation, too. Where’s the snap being snapped at? So I’m working with my long snappers. Were the guards blocking, is everything schemed up right? (The punters) have to feel comfortable back there as well.”
The only reason this position group isn’t in “strong” condition is because UA’s depth is suspect. If Klumph has to miss time for any reason, Arizona could be in serious trouble. If he’s healthy, there is no reason why he shouldn’t be one of the best punters in the Pac-12.
Klumph is a one-year rental, so the Wildcats will have to find a new punter in 2019 — they do have a commitment from 4.5-star prospect Kyle Ostendorp — but they are in good shape for now.
What condition are Arizona’s punters in?
This poll is closed