COLUMBIA — Punter Adam Crossett probably could have taken the signing of junior college transfer kicker Jake Harry as a reflection on his job security.
The Tigers did rank 11th in the Big 12 last season in punt coverage and some might have seen the signing as a warning for Crossett to step his game up.
And if you listen to the sound of the punts that have come off of Crossett’s foot this preseason, it appears the message has been well received. The Liberty, Mo., native has distanced himself from Harry throughout the spring and summer, and clearly cemented his position as the team’s starting punter.
But he will tell you one thing: he didn’t need the extra motivation.
“To be honest I don’t think about it too much,” Crossett said. “I’m a self-motivated guy and there is always someone coming after your job.”
Crossett has handled all the Tiger kicking duties at some point since walking on to the team in 2004. In 2005, Crossett handled all the kicking duties for a Tiger special team unit that was inconsistent. He held kickoff and punting duties last year, where both units ranked in the bottom of the conference for kick coverage. Needless to say, he would like to see that statistic get better.
“Being 11th out of 12 was an embarrassment,” Crossett said. “It’s a reflection on me and the coaches but we should be in line to have a better year this year.”
For perspective on the changes in Crossett’s game, it’s important to know what he changed about his approach to punting. Crossett is attacking the ball these days much like he used to attack his own technique. Watching too much film and focusing on the “perfect punt” was something that he felt was impeding his progress as a player. Feeling it was a sign of immaturity, his need to overanalyze waned as he has gotten older.
“As a younger guy and on that big of a stage, you over-think things,” Crossett said. “I was probably watching too much film on myself trying to get the perfect swing but at a certain point I had to trust my instincts.”
Now Crossett has taken comfort in his own skills and experience. That comfort is manifesting itself into a better on-the-field product that he feels will help the Tiger special teams. A more confident Crossett has taken solace in knowing that he should focus on doing his best rather than the competition lurking over his shoulder.
“To me, its not so much about keeping my spot, but just doing a good job,” Crossett said.