Few have ever questioned the leg strength of Jamie Falloon. His nickname at Monarch was “Touchback,” after all.
If his work ethic has been challenged, that would be a first as well. If you see a few athletes kicking this summer on Monarch’s turf field, it’s probably the former Coyotes standout with current Monarch kicker Patrick Nasiatka.
He’s got the leg and he’s got the discipline. Now it’s a matter of whether Falloon can parlay those attributes into a full-time Division-I kicking gig at Northern Colorado. He received ample time as a freshman with the Bears last season and is firmly in the mix to win the primary role this fall.
But it’s no lock.
“There will be some good competition up there because we’ll have a bit bigger of a group,” Falloon said. “It’ll be more fun. We’ll get some good reps in and we’ll all push each other.”
Redshirt sophomore Jesse Holzemer, a punter/kicker, will be back. Two new place-kicking specialists have been added to the roster. To be clear, though, Falloon is going about his business like he’s the guy to beat.
“My personal goal is to make all my PATs again and at least 90 percent of my field goals,” Falloon said. “Basically, just to be starting again and to have a great season.”
Bears fans never got a chance to rekindle the “Touchback” moniker last season because Falloon didn’t handle any kickoffs as a freshman. Often serving as the principal place-kicker, he drilled all 17 of his extra points and was 2 for 5 on field-goal attempts.
The field-goal accuracy issue was one that plagued the Bears as a whole, as three kickers made only 4 of 13 overall. Each of Falloon’s three misses were just that — misses. Not blocked field goals or products of poor snap-hold execution.
“They were misses. I just didn’t connect well,” he said. “On the first one there were some nerves. Everything is a little bit faster and the guys are a little bit bigger. But this year coming into it, I know what to expect. I’ve been working a lot in the offseason and I just expect to do a lot better because I feel more confident, a lot more relaxed.”
Falloon recently wrapped up his summer job as a maintenance man on the grounds of private school Boulder Country Day in Gunbarrel. He is taking a family vacation to Vail, then it will be all football.
Don’t include Monarch coach Phil Bravo as one of those who will be shocked if Falloon wins the job.
“You look at the state championship game (in 2012), and we see Jamie pop in a 43-yarder on a bad snap where he took a hitch step before he kicked the ball — and he probably had another 10 yards,” Bravo said. “He just has such a powerful leg, and he he’s precise on his field goals.”
Bravo took notice that Falloon stopped using a kicking block as a sophomore, eschewing the device (legal in high school) that lifts the ball off the surface and makes it easier to kick for height and distance.
Knowing he wouldn’t have that luxury in college, Falloon ditched the block and started kicking from the surface.
“That really helped his marketability to that next level, and I’m not surprised what Jamie’s doing,” Bravo said. “He just has a big, thunderous leg and he’s a demon to technique.”
Falloon will be joined at UNC this season by former Monarch teammate Kody Mommaerts, an offensive lineman. He anticipates good things from his leg and from the UNC squad (1-11 last season) as a whole.
“I expect us to do a lot better,” he said.
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