Episode 15 of the Simple Kicking Show is a Roundtable featuring the TCU and SMU kickers. Griffin Kell is the kicker for the TCU Horned Frogs coached by Gary Patterson, and Chris Naggar is the kicker for the SMU Mustangs coached by Sonny Dykes. Both are Arlington High School graduates who played for Head Coach Scott Peach, which made this episode unique because both Kell and Naggar have been training with one another for nearly 8 seasons.
This roundtable covers the differences between making normal field goals and converting crunch time kicks. Both kickers shed light on the hard work and dedication required to perform at a high level. How to become a better kicker through confidence, and how adversity builds mental toughness.
Griffin Kell was named as the Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week for converting 4/4 field goals against the University of Texas. A road win at Darrell K. Royal Stadium-Texas Memorial Stadium, Kell firmly cemented his name as an elite kicker. TCU has a long list of solid kickers, most recently the Horned Frogs had a Lou Groza Semifinalist in 2019 in Jonathan Song. Early in a career, Kell is showing that his hard work, endless pursuit of progress, and passion for kicking will lead to many more clutch kicks.
Chris Naggar finished his undergraduate playing career at the University of Texas at Austin, waiting for an opportunity to kick field goals. Naggar had the opportunity to train with Phil Dawson while at Texas. (Dawson was a 20 year NFL veteran who played for the Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers.) Naggar has applied the lessons learned, wisdom, and self-belief to a lights out senior campaign for the SMU Mustangs. Kicking the game winning 43 yard field goal against a Top 25 ranked Memphis Tigers squad, Naggar was 3/3 on field goals (27, 25, 43), tallied a handful of touchbacks on kickoff, and placed two punts inside the 20 yards line while averaging 45.8 yards on 4 punts. This earned Naggar American Athletic Conference Special Teams Player of the Week for the third straight week. Similar to Kell, Naggar shares how he has kicked for nearly 10 years, which builds confidence required to convert clutch field goals.
Naggar’s story is similar to Ty Long’s. Long is the Punter for the Los Angeles Chargers. You can hear his story of overcoming coaches and scouts who overlooked him through hard work and grit here.
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Additionally, this episode echoes previous Roundtable featuring 2019 Lou Groza Finalists, Keith Duncan from Iowa, and Podcast with Blake Mazza from Washington State. You can find the Big Ten Roundtable here:
You can also find the Blake Mazza Podcast:
You may also find the Simple Kicking Punting Tracker, or Punt tracker app on the App Store helpful in charting your kicks and punts
*Phil Dawson was an NFL Veteran who played for the Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals