LAKELAND, Fla. — Florida football coach Jim McElwain says the video of Gators kicker Eddy Pineiro making an 81-yard field goal on the practice field is “a real deal.”
Pineiro tweeted the video on Tuesday, and McElwain addressed it Wednesday evening before a speaking event for the Polk County Gator Club.
“I heard about that. You know, it’s actually something he did back during spring ball,” McElwain said. “I don’t know why it took so long to get out here, but it was real. All right? So there wasn’t any doctoring up the yard marker or whatever. We didn’t do it on an arena field or anything like that, but he’s got a strong leg — there’s no doubt about it. He enjoys that, he works at his craft — that’s what I like. He’s a guy that just enjoys doing it, and you know what, that becomes infectious with the guys around you. Because he’s always out there working it.”
— Eddy Piñeiro (@eddypineiro1) May 2, 2017
McElwain clarified that he was not physically present for the 81-yard field goal, but he heard about it at the time and knows it happened. A representative for the football program said it happened on the Wednesday prior to Florida’s spring game as the specialists worked on the outside practice field while the rest of the team and coaches were indoors.
“That was those guys doing their deal, but that’s something that they do,” McElwain said. “I know it happened. Yeah, it’s a real deal, but really it doesn’t matter what he does on YouTube videos. What matters is what he does when we’re playing on Saturdays. That’s what matters.”
Pineiro was pretty remarkable on Saturdays last fall as well, making 21-of-25 field goals in his debut season with the Gators. He made 3 of at least 50 yards with a long of 54. His 11 field goals of 40 yards or longer was the most by a Florida kicker since 1996.
Pineiro is no stranger to long-distance field goals. He went viral in December 2015 after posting a video of himself hitting a 77-yarder.
So how long would McElwain let Pineiro attempt one from in a game, perhaps at the end of a half?
“As long as it takes. That guy can boot it, I know that,” he said.