Pollard emerges as a special team's weapon for Mocs - WSMV Channel 4

Pollard emerges as a special team's weapon for Mocs

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Nick Pollard watched the ball soar off his foot last Saturday against Wofford.

And soar.

And soar.

Once it hit the ground, it rolled a little more until finally being covered by the Terriers' return man inside his 15 yard line.

When it was all said and done, Pollard celebrated a 78-yard punt.

"That will definitely help the average. It's like two punts in one," the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga junior said of his boot, which wound up four yards short of the school record.

After battling injuries and early struggles in his college career, Pollard has emerged as a valuable weapon for the Mocs the past two years by perfecting the rarely used "rugby punt."

"The punt game can change the complexion of a game just like that. A block or a big return, it changes momentum," said head coach Russ Huesman. "With this punt it rarely gets blocked and people have trouble returning it.

"I'm thinking of going on the road to teach clinics on it, though it's just, 'take a step and kick it end over end.' I don't think anyone will pay much for that advice." 

Pollard took it to heart, though, and has ranked among the Southern Conference leaders in net punting the last two years. This week his impressive numbers in the kicking game earned him SoCon Special Teams Player of the Week honors.

As a bonus for the Mocs, the former Father Ryan standout is now starting to recover the field goal accuracy he flashed in high school. It's giving the Mocs more options on offense.

"I'd say this summer I went through more mental reps than I ever have. It's not easy to do both punting and kicking, and there's not a lot of people that do it," Pollard said. "But I'm feeling more confident than I ever have. I've missed two field goals this year, and obviously I'd love to have them back, but there's other factors that go into those misses than just the kicks."

Pollard figures to play a key role in Chattanooga's hopes of wrapping up an outright SoCon title this weekend at Samford. The Bulldogs boast the nation's top return man in Fabian Truss, and it will be Pollard's job to place his kicks correctly to keep him in check.

"I definitely think I'm a weapon for our team," he said. "I feel like I've had more pooch punts this year than anything, but when I have a chance to flip the field, I feel like I've been able to get the job done."

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