When punter Alex Kinney went down with a season ending collarbone injury, fans everywhere held there breath - and for good reason. Not only was he one of the best punters in college football, but also a captain and leader on the team.
However, with every major injury comes a new opportunity for the next player on the depth chart. For the Buffs, that man happens to be Evergreen native and former walk-on Davis Price. When Kinney get hurt, Price was somewhat shocked as punters rarely get injured. Additionally, Price served primarily as a backup placekicker/kickoff specialist during his time in Boulder, seeing no live game action as a punter.
But the lifelong Coloradan embraced his first punting experience, taking the differences between the two roles in stride.
“It was a crazy feeling, it was so much fun out there,” Price said with a ear-to-ear smile on his face. “I really enjoyed punting, in kicking I mainly kick the ball when the play’s over, but in punting it’s more of a football play.”
In light of his injury, Kinney has continued to play a leadership role on the team by doing as much as possible to help Price along in his development and technique.
“[He’s] a great mentor, he’s been helping me out a lot and giving me a bunch of tips on the sideline.”
One of the things that Kinney was so good at was pinning CU’s opponent deep in their own territory by putting balls inside the 20. Last season, he was among the national leaders in that category and selflessly sacrificed his own net average in doing so. Price had an interesting analogy when discussing what filling his shoes in that regard would be like.
“It’s like when you’re in little league and the guy before you hits a home run, and then you have to bat next. So I always feel like I’m batting after Alex.”
Something that plays into his favor is the fact that he has a really talented long snapper in JT Bale who always puts the ball on the money, and a line that has protects him. These are two things that’ll help Price’s long term success at the position going forward.
Last year, Colorado didn’t have a bye week until the week before their final game of the season. This time around, their bye lands after the game against New Hampshire, and before conference play even starts.
Although having a break so early forces the team to play a string of nine games in a row down the stretch, it gives them some much needed rest and time to re-coup before the meat of their schedule against their conferences foes. In many cases, having a break so early is ideal.
“The bye weeks are always good, especially kind of getting us ready right before we start Pac-12 season,” MacIntyre said. “It’s probably pretty good if you said you wanted a spot, that’d be a pretty good spot to have.”