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Colquitt is ready for twin duties
Former Bulldog ready to fill need as Vols’ placekicker in addition to punting


Britton Colquitt may get to perform the same last-second magic on Steve Spurrier’s South Carolina Gamecocks he performed on “The Old Ball Coach’s” high school alma mater as a Bearden High School senior.

Or, better yet perhaps, beat Spurrier’s college alma mater in “The Swamp” Sept. 15 with a last-second field goal to break the collective hearts of defending national champion Florida.


Averaging 44.9 yards per punt in 2006 as a Vol red-shirt sophomore — seventh best nationally — Colquitt could replace departed Vol placekicker James Wilhoit after serving as his back-up last season.

Referring to head coach Phillip Fulmer, “As of right now the coach is saying, 'I'm the guy,'” Colquitt said. “It's kinda my spot to lose and Daniel [Lincoln's] spot to gain. As of now I'm the placekicker and punter, but we'll see what happens.”

Envisioning a game-winning kick against a UT rival, “I actually don't know how many times I've thought about it in the last two weeks since spring started,” Colquitt said. “I had about two or three last-second field goals in high school, and those were exciting.”

During his BHS senior season in 2002, Colquitt said his most memorable high school career kicking moment came against Science Hill, “because that was my best overall punting game, but with about a minute-and-a-half to go I missed a field goal to win it,” Colquitt said about Spurrier's alma mater.

After a defensive stop, however, “With about nine seconds to go, a made a game-winner, maybe forty-three [yards].

“But I've thought about the ones in college, and how crazy that would be,” he added. “I've definitely thought about it, and it definitely gets the butterflies going.

“But it's something I welcome and it would be an honor to get to do.”

The standout punter said he welcomes the added responsibility and pressure.

“It's something I missed doing, it's kind of a challenge and I look forward to doing it,” Colquitt said. “It's kinda cool, I get a little pressure feeling from doing field goals and stuff.”

As a BHS Bulldog, “I did all the placekicking and punting, so it's not something new to me,” Colquitt said, handling the chores from his freshman year through senior season.

An All-state punter at Bearden, “I didn't get any honors kicking,” Colquitt added.

SPRING WORK

Saying he's working more on punt so far in the first few days of spring practice, Colquitt adds that placekicking “is something that, since I've played soccer all my life, comes a little more naturally. I work on it, but I want to concentrate more on punting."”

As for his placekicking performance to date, “In practice I haven't really missed any, I've hit it pretty solid,” Colquitt said. “I haven't taken as much as Daniel, we've given him an opportunity to try and get better and everything.”

During the first spring practice scrimmage Saturday, March 3, in Neyland Stadium, “I missed two shorter ones against some pretty rough winds,” Colquitt said. “I hit some pretty good ones, too. I feel pretty good about the spring.

Colquitt said he hit a 50-yard during practice Saturday into “a pretty big side wind. I think I can hit it up to fifty-five — if I really get a hold of it, upper fifties.”

Colquitt, only days from his 22nd birthday, said his placekicker accuracy needs to improve “to the point where I feel real comfortable, but I've been real accurate this spring.”

However, “I didn't really know where I stood until today, after the scrimmage,” adding that in past seasons as the back-up placekicker, “I hadn't really kicked field goals that good in Neyland Stadium.”

But proud of his scrimmage success, “that boosted my confidence, I feel like I was a lot more accurate than I thought,” Colquitt added. “But still, it's going to take a lot more work to get where James [Wilhoit] was.”

And it could help his punting.

“Sometimes when you get confident in your punting, you get to the point where sometimes you're too relaxed,” the red-shirt junior said. “It could help my punting in that I've already been out there and maybe kicked an extra point and done a kickoff. I'm loose, my body feels good, and my head's already in the game.”

FAMILY, NFL FUTURE

Colquitt can also break new ground in the Colquitt family-UT connection: his father, Craig Colquitt [two Super Bowl rings punting with Pittsburgh Steelers], brother, Dustin [currently in the NFL punting with Kansas City] and cousin Jimmy [former NFL punter].

The first three won college honors as punters — but none ever placekicked for the Vols.

“I definitely think that would be kinda neat,” Colquitt said. “Obviously, I'm trying to set myself apart in numbers and stuff like that, and at the same time trying to hold up that name. But also the opportunity to get to be more diverse than they were is pretty cool.”

In addition to the UT coaches, Colquitt said Fuad Reveiz, former Vol standout placekicker and one-time NFL consecutive field goals made record-holder, “comes out and works with Daniel and me. I've sought his advice and he's helped me out on some things.”

Colquitt said he's planning to get with Wilhoit this summer, “to kinda work together to help me be more consistent.”

As for the next level, “If I think of N-F-L, I think of punting,” Colquitt said.

But concerning his older brother, “before Dustin got drafted, the first thing they asked him was, 'can you kick-off, can you hold?' So this will kinda raise the stock, because they want a more diverse athlete.

“But my opportunities are in punting.”

Colquitt also finished second in the SEC in punting last season. The Vols finished 13th nationally in net punting (which includes punt return yardage by the opponent) at 37.62 yards.

BEST FOR THE TEAM

“I don't want it to hurt the team in the long run, so I'm encouraging Daniel and trying to help him out as much as possible,” Colquitt said. “We're all working together, really. It's all going to fall in place.

“If he takes the job, that's fine, too.”

Even without placekicking, “I might end up doing kickoffs,” Colquitt said. “That might even be more of a possibility.”

 

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