Sometimes it’s the little things that make me love college football. Especially when it’s player-driven, like this:
That crude simplicity is the dead snap’s most attractive feature. Once the ball is spotted, the center places the back point of the ball in his palm rather than gripping it like a quarterback arming a spiral. The nose is then placed into the ground so the ball is at a 45-degree angle with an inch of the ball grazing the turf. The fingers are spread, usually with one across the laces or seam to help with grip. Then with the wrist locked, the center swings his arm back like a pendulum and releases.
“Life changing,” Cushing said.
It was the same for former Vanderbilt center Joe Townsend.
Small hands, sweaty palms — that’s how he characterizes his mitts, which were at the core of his issues with the Commodores. His hands weren’t big enough to fully grip the football, and when the SEC swelter forced perspiration to slide down his arm, greasing the ball, he struggled to secure it.
Commodores guard Wesley Johnson suggested at a 2012 practice that he try a primitive sandlot method popular across backyards and barbecues. “Bear claw it,” Johnson said. Stick the nose into your palm and shuffle it back, he said. “Trust me, just try it.”
In the pre-practice walk-through, Townsend gave it an attempt. He didn’t tell then-position coach Herb Hand, but quickly Townsend was snapping perfect chest-high changeups the quarterbacks could easily gather. “Coach Hand said, ‘Joe, what the hell are you doing?’ I said, ‘I’m trying something out,’ and he said, ‘Well, come to me before changing s— up!'” Townsend remembered. “But it worked, and I did it throughout my career.”
Whatever works, brother.