AA Backup punter?

Interesting article!

Anyone remember seeing him punt the football in high school? Anyone see him do it recently in practice? That could be some very interesting trickeration.

He punted for Fayetteville in high school. I have not seen him do it lately, but he had an OK leg in high school.

I could see him when a shorter punt is needed from say the 50 or 40. Certainly would cause the defense to have second thoughts about how to play it, but do we really want our QB being involved in punt return defense?

The guy gets hit too much already

I don’t think the coaches really expect Austin to punt. If Toby Baker got hurt, I wouldn’t be surprised to see of the kickers go out and handle the punt duties. My guess is Austin’s punts would be pooch punts that aren’t going to be returnable, similar to how Ryan Mallett did.

It’s been surprising to see the scholarship punter not make the field. What is the plan for next year?

I think when your HC mentions in a press conference that you managed to shank a punt onto the street next to the practice field that kind of tells you that a transfer is in order. Since kickers and punters are often mental cases any way, I suppose Johnson could have a mental recovery and get his mojo back, but my guess is that they will bring in 3-4 guys to battle it out for the job, with the winner in fall camp getting the job and the scholarship.

While we have certainly had some misses in other positions, two of the biggest recruiting misses so far in the BB era has been landing one highly rated kicker and one highly rated punter who have been, to date, busts. I am betting that they go back to the usual method of bringing in a few guys to compete, and wait to hand out a scholarship to the ones who get it done at the college level.

Johnson punted in one game (Texas State) this year and actually looked pretty good. Baker is a senior, so the job for 2017 will be open, but I bet they bring in somebody to challenge him, either in the spring or a recruit for the fall. As for making AA the backup this week, while shanking one on to the street didn’t help, there’s also the factor of roster restrictions for an SEC road game. Maybe they’re taking an extra linebacker or DB instead of a punter.

Agree! Even in the pros, a punter occasionally has a bad punt that is totally his fault (though maybe not that bad). My guess is that he’ll be back next year, barring other extenuating circumstances (in the future or other past things that we have not been made aware of).

I certainly know how the punter feels having a punt shanked onto the road. I’ve been known to shank a few golf shots out of the fairway and onto a parallel road!

Of course, our practice fields now are where George Cole Field used to be. I recall any number of cracked windshields on Razorback Road, both parked cars and unfortunate cars in motion whose paths intersected with a foul ball. I think UA paid for all such repairs on the moving vehicles; if you parked there you were deemed to have assumed the risk of horsehide in your front seat.

One of the issues with making Austin the backup punter is the number of kickers on the travel squad. It became a numbers crunch when they took Adam McFain, Cole Hedlund and Connor Limpert on the road. So they eliminated the punter, knowing that in a pinch, Austin could punt. You could say it wasn’t an issue last week since the starting punter didn’t even punt!