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Arizona football training camp: Experienced special teams unit skipping baby steps, punter Kyle Ostendorp epitomizing student athlete

arizona-football-training-camp-special-teams-kyle-ostendorp-jordan-paopao-punter-2023-preseason Photo by Christopher Hook/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With this being the third season with this scheme for Arizona's special teams, coach Jordan Paopao is able to skip the baby steps of the system and jump right into tweaking things with his unit.

“The continuity between those guys is uncanny quite honestly,” Paopao said. “I think as those guys are starting to be comfortable this is again a second full season within this scheme and our operating procedure. It’s kind of nice to have coaches on the field. They can anticipate calls, they kind of know what’s coming, and ultimately they’re able to provide a lot of feedback with all the playing experience that they have.”

A veteran leader on that special teams group is senior punter Kyle Ostendorp, who has seen guys buy into the scheme Paopao has in place.

“Honestly, everybody, I mean, I’ve been taking reps with the ones, twos and threes and each and every time the gunners, the shields, everybody is locked in and ready to go,” Ostendorp said. “Basically when you have 100 guys bought in all willing to play special teams due to the high level as well.”

Ostendorp credits the older guys with being able to bring up the younger players to speed with what they are trying to accomplish.

“You’re able to start folding off in a much faster foot,” Ostendorp said. “You don’t have to go over a lot of the same things initially because everyone knows how to do it. All the vets are teaching the young guys and it’s just streamline the process.”

In addition to Ostendorp, junior kicker Tyler Loop and senior long snapper Seth MacKellar are also in their third seasons in this system.

Away from the football field, Ostendorp is the definition of the expression student before athlete.

“It’s been tough to say the least,” Ostendorp said. “I mean, pretty much every single day is the exact same. I try to stay disciplined by studies and if I’m not doing football, then I’m at home studying and trying to get ready for homework or a test or something like that.”

Being disciplined in his studies and on the field was instilled in Ostendorp from a young age and now he is currently getting his master degree in aerospace engineering with an emphasis in fluid mechanics.

“Since I have German parents, they are always saying education is important, ever since I was growing up, I always had to have my homework done before I could go play stuff like that.” Ostendorp said.

Having that discipline has allowed Ostendorp to be recognized for his academics, including being named to the 2022 Pac-12 Fall Honor Roll, 2022 College Sports Communicators First Team Academic All-American and 2022 College Sports Communicators Academic All District.

Not only does he excel in the classroom, Ostendorp was named to the Ray Guy Award Watch list for top punter’s in the nation and he currently sits in first in UA history in career average (46.3) with one season left to play.