TUSCALOOSA, Ala — As reporters are being ushered into Alabama’s practices, punter JK Scott is usually walking out. Scott and most of the specialists do a lot of their work independent from the team, and are typically spotted in the indoor training facility or the weight room.
No, they’re not slacking off while the rest of the team is out there banging bodies. Their positions, as Scott explained, just require a different type of training method. For Scott, the rising junior said it’s about guarding against injury over punting.
“Absolutely. You can’t overdo it because it’s always just a one-motion and it’s so explosive that it’ll put some strain on your body,” Scott said Tuesday. “So you’ve got to do some things to balance out outside of punting like cross-training, different things. I’m kicking three days a week right now. And then every single day I’m doing other stuff. I spend so much more time doing other things rather than punting right now. You always have a risk of overdoing it, definitely, when you’re kicking or punting — or really anything, I would say.”
Scott’s “other things” include “doing a little pool work, Pilates, different running and stuff in the weight room.”
This offseason, Scott and the other specialists got a new position coach. With Bobby Williams moving off the field to a “special assistant” position to the head coach, running backs coach Burton Burns was put in charge of the special teams.
“Me and Coach Burns, we’ll meet sometimes and just kind of talk about special teams and stuff,” Scott said. “We really don’t meet a lot with coach Burns just ’cause he’s got running backs and stuff. We usually meet with coach (Brendan) Farrell. But coach Burns, it’s been good so far with him.”
After a stellar freshman season, Scott slumped some at the beginning of his sophomore year. Last season, Scott dropped 25 of his kicks inside the opponents 20-yard line, down from 31-of-55 from his freshman year when he was a finalist for the Ray Guy Award.
Scott couldn’t put his finger on what changed from year one to year two, but said he felt he “got into a rhythm in the middle of the year and did OK throughout the rest of the year.”
Scott is using this spring for personal improvement. If Alabama’s offense struggles early on in the year, the Tide will need Scott to help flip the field and put the defense is good positions like he’s done throughout his two seasons in Tuscaloosa.
“For me, I’m always trying to get stronger, more consistent, always,” Scott said. “Coach Saban, he’s really telling me to keep doing what I’m doing, don’t change a lot of things, don’t like do anything drastic but just kind of keep doing what I’m going. Little tweaks here and there.”