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Sent on Mormon-News: 22Aug01

By Mark Wright

BYU's Pochman Making Case to NFL's Patriots

FOXBORO, MASSACHUSETTS -- After a record-setting football career at Brigham Young University, Owen Pochman is trying to "kick-start" a career in the NFL. A four-year place-kicker for the Cougars, Pochman's BYU highlights include his record 135 PAT conversions, 66 field goals and 333 points scored over four seasons. Pochman, a soccer player who didn't play football until his senior year in high school in Mercer Island, Washington, had the luxury of learning the art of kicking from one of BYU's other top kickers. His older brother, Ethan, kicked for the Cougars in 1996 and set his own school record with 61 consecutive PATs. He also set single-season records with 123 total points and 21 made field goals.

Now, Owen Pochman is kicking up a little competition in the New England Patriot's training camp. Pochman was taken in the final round of the NFL draft by the Patriots at number 216 overall. While the Patriots already have a solid kicker in 5-year returning starter Adam Vinatieri, coach Bill Belichick said they chose Pochman because he was so highly regarded as a place-kicker coming out of college. Pochman's already had a chance to solidify his chances in the NFL, turning in a terrific performance in his debut performance during a pre-season game against the New York Giants.

On the night, Pochman connected on four of five field-goal attempts to help the Patriots claim a 14-0 victory over the Giants at Foxboro Stadium. Pochman's first attempt, a booming 53-yarder, sailed easily over the uprights and would have been good from 65 yards. Pochman also connected from 23 yards, 25 yards, and 20 yards. His only miss of the night was a 43 yard attempt, which sailed wide right just before the end of the first half. "Obviously I missed that one that I'd like to have back, and I miss-hit a couple kickoffs, but I think I'll be able to go to sleep tonight and feel pretty good about my first NFL-type experience," said Pochman.

While the pre-season is hardly a litmus test for proving rookie talent, Pochman has definitely served notice that he's ready for the pressure of kicking in the NFL. "I felt pretty good because I had a really good warm-up and I've been practicing really good this week," said Pochman. "[Special teams coach Brad] Seely kind of changed my steps around a little bit and the ball's been flying really well for me, so I wasn't too nervous." Given Pochman's debut, maybe it's time for Vinatieri to be a little nervous.

One other item of interest is the identity of the holder for the Patriots. Lee Johnson, nicknamed "Thunderfoot," also played football at BYU where he had a successful career as a punter and currently performs the holding duties for the place-kickers for the Patriots.


Rookie kicker's performance putting pressure on Vinatieri
Providence RI Journal 11Aug01 S2
By Carolyn Thornton: Journal Sports Writer


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