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Geoff Price: Price always was the Kid with the Big Leg

Chris Khorey | Friday, November 17, 2006

From the time he first kicked a soccer ball, Geoff Price has been the Kid with the Big Leg.

The senior Notre Dame punter discovered his talent while playing the “other football” in early elementary school.

“In soccer, when I played goalie I could punt the ball really far,” Price said. “It started out as a hobby and then I realized I had a little talent.”

Price’s journey from talented elementary schooler to Division I starter has been a process of refining his technique and trying to harness the howitzer leg he was blessed with.

His first coach was his father.

“One day my dad and I were out in the yard and he punted a spiral and I said ‘Wow, how did you do that?’ Price said.

Later, Price gave up soccer and became a standout high school punter in Colleyville, Texas and college football opportunities started rolling in.

There was only one place Price wanted to go – South Bend, Ind.

“I was a big [Notre Dame] fan growing up,” Price said. “I remember coming home from a soccer game and seeing them on TV and wanting to come here. It was a life long dream.”

His first three years playing for the Irish were frustrating, however. Behind D.J. Fitzpatrick on the depth chart, Price struggled with his consistency. He would boom kicks 60 yards and then have one go off the side of his foot or, worse, get blocked.

Price knew what he had to do to correct the problem, but for some reason he couldn’t put it into practice.

“When I was kicking and D.J. would see something, he would try to correct me,” Price said. “I would do the same thing with him. In fact, I think I could explain things to him better than I could do them myself.”

Then, once Fitzpatrick graduated and Price was thrust into the starting lineup this year, everything suddenly clicked.

“My problem was trying to kick the ball too far, and I was overstriding,” Price said. “Now I try to stay short and compact and it’s paid off.”

Price practiced by putting a towel a couple of yards in front of him and making sure he kicked the ball before he got to it. Suddenly, he was consistent and talented.

It was the recipe for stardom.

After punting just twice his first three years on campus, Price has averaged more than 45 yards per kick this year and played a key role in several Notre Dame victories, especially the 14-10 defensive struggle victory over Georgia Tech Sept. 2.

With the success, Price has experienced a sudden celebrity.

“It’s been fun,” he said. “There’s been a lot more attention. A lot more people come up to me and say ‘good job’ and I have no idea who they are. I’ve gotten some random IMs and Facebooks. I try to take it all in stride and enjoy it, because how often does that happen?”

Price has another year of eligibility remaining, an option he will discuss with Irish coach Charlie Weis after the season. But right now the Kid with the Big Leg is focusing on the present.

“I’m not too concerned about next year now,” Price said. “Right now I’m just living in the moment with this team.”