Overcoaching Vs. Undercoaching

May 5th, 2019


Back in 2017, Bucs rookie kicker Matt Gay, this year’s fifth-round draft pick, was voted the best kicker in college football.

But there was a catch to him winning the Lou Groza Award.

A very interesting catch.

Per the Deseret News of Salt Lake City, Gay accomplished all that without “a personal kicking coach” and he “never attended a [kicking] camp.” In 2018, Gay wasn’t as good and was not among the finalist for the award.

Joe finds Gay reaching the highest honor of college kicking with little or no coaching to be a very interesting phenomenon given that the Bucs have a new dedicated kicking coach, Chris Boniol, who likely will coach the hell out of Gay.

Heck, that is Boniol’s sole job: get up in the kickers’ business.

That’s a very fine line. You’ve got a kicker who is not used to thinking too much, and now he’s going to have a coach in his ear daily. That’s dangerous territory at a position where it’s important to roll with the status quo when it’s working — and a position where the mental side of things is everything.

(Fun facts, Bucs kicker Cairo Santos was voted best kicker in college football for the 2012 season, and notorious Bucs kicking bust Roberto Aguayo brought home the honor for the 2013 season.)

Last week, Joe asked Boniol about managing the competition between Santos and Gay, and Boniol was adamant that he will only be setting a kicking standard and the competition will be to the standard, not player versus player.

Although the pay is probably fantastic, Joe wouldn’t want Boniol’s job.

Joe just hopes Gay’s draft status is treated as irrelevant when it comes to making the roster. If Santos is the better kicker, then the Bucs better not overthink things; cut or trade Gay and embrace Santos.

35 Responses to “Overcoaching Vs. Undercoaching”

  1. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Lord, if Santos is better, bring in Matt Bryant.

  2. Defense Rules Says:

    We’re the Bucs Joe, remember? We’ll keep BOTH.

  3. Barack's Crack Pipe Says:

    So now that we have a kicking coach, is there a new kickers’ room where they will hold kicking meetings? And what will they talk about?? Inquiring minds want to know!

  4. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Don’t see how a kicking coach can hurt…..I don’t care if we have 12 kickers in camp……let’s just solve the kicking problem.

  5. Todd Says:


    Love the competition. Love the coach. Love the commitment to get better in the kicking game.

    Will love the wins attributed to all of the above.

    And…will love going 10-6 and making the playoffs.

  6. DayOnePaul Says:

    They didn’t draft a kicker to have him not make the team. Santos better keep on renting.

    “You don’t Draft kickers. You sign kickers.”

  7. Tattoodonny Says:

    You know we are always picked on for drafting Roberto in the 2nd round, but who remembers the St. Louis Cardinals drafting Steve Little with pick 15 of the 1st round in 1978? His claim to fame was kicking a 67 yard FG while at Texas. What about the Aints who drafting Russell Erxleban with pick 11 of the 1st round in 1979? As bad as Roberto was, Russell Erxlenan was worse & was cut after they drafted HOF’er Morten Anderson in 1983. Steve Little was even worse, he played under 2 years kicking at a whopping 48.1% of FGM. Try bringing this up too when you wanna criticize our GM. Lastly those Aints traded up w/NE who had the last 2 picks in the 2nd round so THEY could draft Roberto in the 2nd round in 2016, unfortunately for Jason, he beat Sean Payton to the punch.

  8. Jordan L Says:

    11-5. FIFY

  9. JabooBuc Says:

    It is a worthwhile pick. All the people with anger about picking a Kicker just don’t get football. Saw some draft evaluators rip the Bucs for this pick saying you can just sign Kickers as USFA’s. Well, not if it’s the Kicker you want.

    If this guy has a consistent big leg then that makes him another weapon. Definitely worth picking in the 5th.

  10. Buc believer Says:

    I REALLY REALLY want to stay positive but it is very difficult. We have 30 plus coaches AND a GM who is undoubtedly the worst in the league. This season has disaster written all over it. It’s probably a good thing they will be away from Ray Jay for 7 weeks…. it could get ugly.

  11. The Buc Realist Says:

    Can’t wait to see the “so-called” fans booo the kickers again in training camp. only to panic and freak out after every missed kick, and then to wonder why later in the year why the kicking position is always a disaster year after year in Tampa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    2019 will reveal answers to the sheep, that the “real” fans already know!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    GO Bucs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. dmatt Says:

    Better come up with a strategy to keep the kicks from b n blocked, a weakness not mentioned lately. Hope special teams coach is better than last year’s coach.

  13. AlteredEgo Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    I agree %100 about the danger of having a kicking coach in is hear…especially when he is hitting a flat spot…in army basic training I ended up one of 2 out of 220 that qualified expert with M-16…this was VN era and I think we went to the range everyday for months, anyway one day at the range I was struggling on the 300 m target and a DS came over and started monkeying around with my sights that had been dialed in since the 1st week…of course I could not stop him but did say several times …it is not the rifle …”it is me”….

  14. Chris Simms 2020 GM Says:

    The problem with the 5th round pick is simple. He uses a running start before striking the ball. Similar to what a normal kicker does on kick offs.

    If you listen to his post draft interview, he hints that he is not comfortable altering his style. In other words, without the running start, he can’t reach the goal posts. That’s why he is not confidant that he can kick off (weak leg) in the NFL.

    The NFL is a game of inches, you have to take one step and strike the ball, or it will be slapped back into your face. He said that was one of his problems at Utah, blocked kicks.

    The most disturbing facts about this pick is that no one of any importance on the Bucs talked to him. BA who is supposedly a kicker savant never called him. Gump who is kicker draft specialist never interviewed him. An intern simply touched base a couple times to make sure he was still alive and not in prison.

    Gump simply did a google search, came up with a name and wasted draft capital on that name. He never analyzed his tape, never spoke to his coach, never talked to friends or family. Never did any of the due diligence that he is paid for.

    This kid, Happy Gilmour, has the same chance of succeeding in the NFL that Adam Sandler had in the PGA, slim and none.

    I believe that when two teams traded up in the 2nd and stole two of the Buc’s desperately needed offensive linemen, they simply moved Bunting, who they liked in the 5th round, all the way to the 39th pick.

    Then, when reeling from the shock and awe of what they had done settled, they made a stupid, crazy and panicked trade from the 70th pick all the way to 94 and 99. Then on the 3rd day when they needed a 5th rounder, they reached for a kicker.

    When you see some of the ingenious trades some teams make like Les Snead of the Rams, who made 6 brilliant trades for a team that finished 2nd overall, you just have to wonder, WTF?

    Fire Licht tonight.

  15. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I think I have been more than critical of this new staff. Bruce Arians comes off sounding like a blowhard to me. He thrives off a reputation, but I have seen very little to back it up since he came here.

    That said…

    …I think Dirk Koetter’s biggest failing was surrounding himself with the wrong people. About the only good coaches he had on Staff were his OC, WR coach and TE coach. None of the others even deserved the job…especially on defense.

    Bruce Arians not only brought in a lot of coaches, but he seem’s to respect their opinions too. Would he be willing to fire any of them if called for? Who knows? Most coaches would not unless pushed on hard to do it…and when that happens there is usually a good chance that head coach will be the next head on the chopping block.

    Right now, the cons seem to outnumber the Pros of Arians, but that, I admit, is easy to assume before any games are played.

    • Lost Humphries
    • Lost Alexander
    • No great free agents signed (really, each that was signed is a negative in my book)
    • His possible handling of Gerald McCoy has been horrible
    • Replaced a punter who didn’t need replacing (and the replacement is not a step up)
    • Re-signed Santos

    • Signed two women coaches (respect)
    • Drafted White to replace Alexander
    • Got rid of Jackson
    • Drafted a kicker

    • The rest of the draft class. Will they turn out to be good picks in the long run?

    When he was brought in, Arians and his staff evaluated the players and said that most of his staff felt they had who they needed to turn the team around. Apparently, this was a sign of things to come.

    On McCoy, I said possible handling because nearly everything we have heard has been media speculation, if not everything. We don’t know for sure if there is bad blood between the two sides. We don’t know if the Bucs want to rework McCoy’s deal. We really have not even seen proof that McCoy is on the trading block at all when you think about it.

    All we have seen is unsubstantiated stories in all cases.

    So far as the new punter, people seem to forget that Anger was able to do kickoffs as well. It was one of his pluses when he signed here.

    I put drafting a kicker in the Pros because being stuck with just Santos would be a nightmare. The thought of him being here for a full season tells me he’ll be able to mess up more games. Drafting a kicker was smart, even in the fifth round.

    People say Licht could have found a kicker off the street after the draft…well, apparently not since he has failed to do so in the past, and since the whole ‘reaching’ theme is a myth, I cannot hold drafting a kicker against him in the fifth round.

    And finally, as to the rest of the picks…I’m not confident in the picks, but I also understand I cannot really judge them until I see them play. For all we know, Arians could have seen something we do not, and he could have drafted future hall of famers.

  16. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Chris Simms 2020 GM Says
    “If you listen to his post draft interview, he hints that he is not comfortable altering his style…”

    I understand your views, and I respect them. You raise valid points. However, there are a couple things we also have to consider:

    • Blocking. A good special teams coach will make sure the blocking accounts for a kicker’s style

    • All kickers use a running start. He’s not a punter. He’s a place kicker. You cannot show me a single kicker who takes only 1 step and then kicks.

    • A lot of players out of college think they know it all and do not want to change how they play. Of course this kicker is uncomfortable with changing the way he plays…it has worked for him. But that doesn’t mean he won’t change.

  17. Marine Buc Says:

    This guy was 8-11 from 50+ yards out his Jr. and Sr. seasons. I will give him a chance. Let’s hope he becomes our kicker for the next 10 years…

  18. Buc believer Says:

    Buc Bonzai… I agree 1000% Aryans is not showing anything except how egotistical he is! I hope his ego matches performance on game days.

  19. AlteredEgo Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    Only the Bucs would draft a successful college kicker with an unusual style in the 5th round …then entertain the idea of asking him to change his style….IMO his approach is much ado about nothing…maybe it is a better way and in 5 years all the kickers will be copying that style. The only criticism is that it might take a millisecond longer…..easier to have better blocking than ask a guy to kick the ball like you think he should

  20. TDTB Says:

    Chris Simms ding, ding, ding

  21. AlteredEgo Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    Chris Simms 2020 GM Says:
    May 5th, 2019 at 8:21 am

    Then, when reeling from the shock and awe of what they had done settled, they made a stupid, crazy and panicked trade from the 70th pick all the way to 94 and 99. Then on the 3rd day when they needed a 5th rounder, they reached for a kicker.
    Jason Licht’s draft legacy…same thing happens every year….RoJo when they were thinking Sony Michele…several other examples I have buried in deep denial subconscious psyche

  22. TDTB Says:

    I have no objection to picking a kicker…but why did they pick one coming off a down year (See Aguillo). Siebert was the undisputed consensus best kicker in draft. Tracy or Blankenship would have been better than Gay. Bunting over Adderly. Edwards over Gardner-Johnson. Nelson over Ominihu. Gay over Siebert. The draft strategy is legitimate, but the brain trust consistently defies the odds with their picks in the middle rounds. If you look at NE’s draft they played the odds in their favor. Why does this group think they’re smarter than consensus when all empirical evidence says otherwise?

  23. Eric Says:

    All you have to do is sign a couple of free agent kickers and have a camp and preseason competition. No need to burn a draft pick.

    Especially when you. Have the worst defense in the league.

    I don’t get it.

  24. Marine Buc Says:

    @ Eric

    FYI. We have lost 13 games by 3 points or less the past 3 seasons. We NEED a real kicker for once… a fifth round pick ain’t squat if this kid sticks.

  25. Marine Buc Says:

    @ Eric

    We lost 13 games by 3 points the past 3 seasons. We need a real kicker and a fifth round pick is not taking that big of a risk if this kid is any good.

  26. Marine Buc Says:

    * lost 13 games by 3 points or less…

  27. SenileSenior Says:

    AlteredEgo, Here is what happened to me.

    I kept failing to qualify on my M-16 and they were all over me for being a f**up. I kept telling them something was wrong with the weapon. Finally after about the 3rd or 4th try a sergeant grabbed it and tried it for himself. Sure enough it would not hold the setting.

    They gave me another rifle. With my next try I qualified as a Marksman.

  28. teacherman777 Says:

    @defense rules

    Exactly! lol.


    Do you think Logan Mankins was told he was going to be cut? I think Licht forced him into retirement because he wanted Sweezy.

    Not only did Licht sign a guy with a bum back.

    He thought Mankins needed an upgrade!!

    We have sucked since we lost Mankins.

    No running game? No wins!!!

    I have been calling for another OG/C in the 2nd round for 3 years!

    I swear, Licht didnt draft a guard just to spite the fanbase.

  29. Cobraboy Says:

    @Chriss Simms 2020 GM: You are incorect about the “running start.” It is called “approach.”

    Every kicker has a slightly different style in his approach, especially if they were soccer players first.

    All that really matters up to ball contact, without getting too far into the technical weeds, are two things:

    1) How quick from the start of the approach to ball contact, and

    2) How consistent is the approach?

    A difference in .1-.2 seconds of #1 can be the difference in a blocked kick. A lot of this has to do with the coordination between kicker and holder, and the confidence the kicker has in the holder. I saw Anger as somewhat of a problem in lack of consistency that last several years.

    #2 needs to be dead-on every time. ALL body movements before contact will determine the effectiveness of the follow-through.

    One positive of Gay, and I’ve watched a bunch of film on him, is he’s not a knee-jerk looker-upper like Aguayo. This form comes from confidence. When a kicking operation is 100% routine, both kicker and holder, you know where the ball is going as soon as you feel your foot hit it. It’s like hitting a perfect drive in golf, you feel it and just know…

    Another aspect of Gay’s form: he drives through the ball, letting his given leg strength creat elevation. Weaker legged kickers feel they have to create lift with motion, and that can screw up the follow through. We have seen that in abundance in the last few years with Bucs kickers, especially Aguayo.

    Santos has fine mechanics, too. He just doesn’t have the leg strength that Gay has.

    I won’t get into the minor details, but I don’t see either problem in Gay, and I saw many issues with Aguayo.

    The purpose of a kicking coach is not to change technique. The purpose of a kicking coach is to keep the kicker in “the zone” like a pro golfer putting. Left alone a young guy could lose “the zone,” overcompensate for bad form with disasterous results…like Aguayo.

    Aguayo’s #1 problem is he is mentally weak. We will see what Gay’s mental toughness is.

  30. Tom S. Says:

    To the poster that brings up kicker draft selections from 40 years ago (1978/1979), yes there were kickers drafted in the first round each year and both were failures. There was also a punter taken 39th overall in 1978, a punter in the 3rd round of 1978 and a kicker in 3rd round of 1979. This was all pre-personal computers or with much statistical evaluation etc. Like the adaptation of the forward pass, the league adjusted and largely learned from the ineffeciency and ineffectiveness of taking kickers and punters high (for example the two kickers in Rd 1 were big-time busts). The AV of a kicker is far lower than that of a positional player. The team that uses significant draft capital is either exactly right on their evaluation (Jason Hanson/Stephen Gostkowski) or a huge waste of resources (Nugent/Aguayo).

    Because something was done 40 years ago and largely stopped since does not make it a rational decision to do today.

  31. Rod Munch Says:

    Greg Zuerlein made just 74.2% of his attempts his rookie year.

    Then he became one of the best kickers in football for a long time.

    It’s why you don’t throw away kickers after their rookie years.

    Cutting Roberto when he never missed a kicked that matter was still one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen. It was purely driven by social media, and we know from the outcome of all the kickers that have came through here, that it was the wrong decision. I bet nearly anything that he’d have had an OK 2nd year and would have had a great 3rd year – that’s how a lot of kickers have always done throughout history. Instead the idiot lynchmob had it’s way and Licht was dumb enough to listen.

  32. Stanglassman Says:

    Cobraboy- I agree 100%, good points. You and I are the only two on here that have kicked at a high level. I only say that because I just want to let others know most of what others are writing is total BS. Taking one step to kick the ball?! LOL. Even Bonzai knew that was not true. One step kicks is a game in training to improve core strength but that’s it. Two back and 1 1/2-2 over is pretty universal. 7-9 steps on kickoffs.
    What I liked about Gay’s tape aside from what you already pointed out is the simplicity of his mechanics. Not a lot to go wrong. That’s what I didn’t like about Roberto A. he was a mess. I watched him closely in college and was shocked he was able to keep it all together his Jr year. His senior it all started falling apart along was his constantcy. I couldn’t believe anyone drafted him especially the Bucs the 2nd round. All the kickers I know said it would be a long shot for him to make it in the NFL.

  33. Cobraboy Says:

    @Stanglassman: one additional issue is in college the ball is set up 7 yards behind the center. At the pro level, it’s 8 yds. That is a big difference when it comes to blocked kicks. The difference is because of the size of the linemen.

    Rarely is a block the fault of the kicker unless, 1) he’s slow to the approach either from a tardy start or slow mechanics, or 2) a really low kick. In general a kick gets blocked from penetration or a herculean effort of the edge guy.

  34. Cobraboy Says:

    @Rod Munch: Aguayo was cut because he became a total, irredemable mental basket case, an emotional meltdown.

    Oh, and he continued to miss PAT’s.

    Yeah, it was a bad #2 pick, maybe the worst ever. although I’d put the Booker Reese alongside, and certainly the Bo Jackson selection being the worst ever.

  35. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Rod Munch Says:
    “Cutting Roberto when he never missed a kicked that matter was still one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen.”

    I have to agree with you. Especially since he was told he would compete for the starting role, missed no kicks during that competition, and was still cut (the other kicker DID miss during the competition).

    Last year, Aguayo (forget what team) had another perfect off season and still got cut again.

    The kids is not getting a fair shake. He’s obviously improved his game, but that doesn’t seem to matter.