When asked during his National Signing Day press conference why he used a scholarship to bring in a punter and what the place-kicking situation looks like heading into spring, Coach Smart replied:
“Scared to death is what it is. The decision on the punter was, in my history, I found that you can find more quality kickers through the walk-on route than you can quality punters. After sitting down, sharing ideas, talking to people in the NFL and people who have experience at the college level – as a staff, we felt like it was going to be harder to manufacture punting than it would be the field goal and the place kicking. Obviously, we felt like it was the right route to go ahead and offer a punter that thought was very reputable and does a great job and is held in high regard across the country as punters go. We feel like he can fill a void. He can fill a void for four years and be a good one. At field goal kicker, we want to find out what we have here in the spring. We really don’t know as a staff exactly what we’ve got. We’ll find that out in the spring. We’re going to try to get some kids in here whether it’s by way of transfer or by way of walk-on. We’re going to try to get the best kickers we can to try to make that a competitive environment and improve the kicking game and essentially find a guy that can be the field goal kicker for us. It’s a little scary coming in, especially for (special teams coach) Shane (Beamer), he’s going `wait a second, we don’t have a punter, we don’t have a returning snapper that started, and we don’t have a field goal kicker. That’s a little overwhelming, but we didn’t want to commit a scholarship to a kicker as of now. We’ll see how that goes.”
Here is the video of his remarks about punters and kickers:
Uploaded by Bulldawg Illustrated on 2016-02-04.