Doerr’s pooch kicks key for Cats

By Joel Jellison

If Collin Klein had his way, Kansas State punter Ryan Doerr would never see the field.

It’s not that Klein and Doerr have some sort of issue, it’s just that the K-State quarterback would rather keep the offense on the field than ever have to punt.

Doerr earned his stripes in the Wildcats’ last game, though, when he punted a season-high five times in the win at Oklahoma — making all five count. Doerr put each kick inside the Sooners’ 20, giving OU an average starting field position at its own 12-yard line.

The Wildcats are hoping for more of the same if he’s called on against Kansas this Saturday.

Doerr’s performances against OU earned him the Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week last Monday.

The senior said he remembers each and every little detail about his standout kicks against the then-Top 10 Sooners, even picking a few favorites.

“Punters are weird, they remember every little detail about their punts,” he said last week. “My third punt, I really enjoyed. I was backed up quite a bit, so I did get to let loose and open it up, and I got it down the field pretty nice. With the hang time, they still had to fair catch it inside their 20, so I was pretty proud of that punt. And of course my last one when Curry (Sexton) caught it on the 4-yard line — I liked that too.”

Doerr also admitted he didn’t like a few of his punts in K-State’s first signature win of the season, and didn’t immediately acknowledge praise from coaches and teammates on the sidelines.

“(Punters) have little weird memories and remember every little thing about each punt, and how we messed that one up bad,” he said. “My second punt, I wasn’t very happy with at all. I had the whole second half of the field to work with and I only got to the 18, it’s like c’mon now.”

Doerr looked like a pooch kicking expert in Norman, using the specialized punt skill to pin the Sooners deep in their own territory. Before that game, Doerr’s career-best performance came when he pinned a team inside the 20 three times.

The pooch punt has all but replaced what used to be referred to as the coffin-corner punt. The coffin corner skill involved kicking the ball to the corners of the field and trying to put it out of bounds inside the 20.

The advantage of the pooch kick is often getting the extra bounce that pins a team back just that much further.

Doerr said they don’t work on kicking the ball put of bounds too often, focusing more on directional kicks.

The senior said K-State spends a lot of time on executing pooch kicks in practice, and they looked exactly like they should against Oklahoma.

“We practice it everyday out on the field here — it’s not the easiest thing to get down in the world — it does take a lot of practice,” he said. “I could have punted it a little better and a little deeper on some of them.”

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