Saturday, July 20, 2013

Teggart keeping his NFL dreams alive

I took a ride up to Worcester earlier today so I could catch up with former UConn kicker Dave Teggart who hosted the first camp as part of the Teggart Total Kicking program he recently started with his father. A story on how he decided to become a kicking coach will appear in tomorrow's edition of the Register.

However, don't think for a minute that this endeavor means that he is giving up on his aspirations to be a kicker in the NFL.

Teggart impressed at a kicking showcase in Arizona in March which resulted in a tryout with the Seattle Seahawks. Although he was not signed by Seattle, he is hoping he opened enough eyes there to be on the radar when a team needs a kicker.

He was signed as a free agent by Chicago coming out of UConn and made it to training camp but he was unable to unseat the Bears’ incumbent kicker Robbie Gould. He spent six months in Los Angeles working out under former NFL kicker Michael Husted that culminated with an impressive showing at a showcase in March.

“Robbie Gould he is a great kicker,” Teggart said. “He is a great guy to learn from but competing against a guy like that, I think he is pretty safe there. It was a great learning experience, I learned from the best. I went to California and trained. At a showcase in Arizona in March, won the field goal portion and I ended up they flew me to Seattle for a workout.

“Hopefully I keep getting these workouts,” Teggart said. “All I can control is staying ready and be ready when I get the call.

“There are so many kickers out there and so few spots. I have no illusions that it is easy. Obviously it is not the easiest position to make it, there are four quarterbacks, four linebackers for each position and for kickers there is only one. You have to get lucky and stay ready; you never know when the call is going to come. I will always stay in shape, always stay ready. I am still booming the ball. I am going to keep training forever, it is one of those things that I can use my abilities to help kids and keep myself in shape.”

Teggart said the biggest improvement he has made as a kicker has come on kickoffs since he knew that a kicker who struggled kicking the ball off has little chance to making it an NFL roster.

“I feel like I am kicking better than I ever have,” Teggart said. “At UConn I never really (kicked off) because we had Desi Cullen and he got it into the end zone every time and Chad (Christen) does very good kickoffs and I never really got the chance to showcase that ability. That is something I have improved upon; field goals have never been a problem for me it is just kickoffs. I am putting the kickoffs out of the end zone now and it is just a matter of getting into the right place at the right time, have somebody see me and take a chance on me.

Regardless of whether Teggart ever appears in an NFL regular-season game, his legacy in Connecticut was forever sealed when he blasted a 52-yard field goal against South Florida in the 2010 regular-season finale to kick the Huskies into a BCS game and showdown with Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl.

“That was one of my favorite moments to be able to go to a BCS game like that,” Teggart said. “At the time when you are lining up you are not really thinking of all the things that go with it. You are like ‘man, I’ve got a kick here and I’ve got to treat it like an extra point. I have to put it through or we are going to lose.’ That whole experience, that whole Fiesta Bowl ride, that was something you will never forget.”

I also addressed some other UConn-related topics with Teggart including his take on seeing five of his former UConn teammates (Dwayne Gratz, Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Sio Moore, Trevardo Williams and Ryan Griffin) taken in April's NFL draft.

"It goes to show everyone of those guys who were drafted are great people off the field as well," Teggart said. "I am really good friends with all of them and it just goes to show how much off the field matters as much as one the field. They are all great guys and they deserve everything they get. I wish them luck in the upcoming season."

When current UConn kicker Chad Christen missed four field goals in a loss to Temple, he told the media that Teggart was one of the first people to reach out to him.

"I have known Chad for a long time," Teggart said. "I have developed a great relationship with him over the time he was here, he was my holder for two years. He had a huge game winner against Louisville and believe me I was up on that screen watching. I was dying for him ‘hey, you’ve got to make it.’ When he did, I was going nuts. I was probably more excited than if it was me kicking it."

Finally here are Teggart's thoughts on his time at UConn.

"UConn was the best four years of my life," Teggart said. "It is indescribable what I think of that place, all the fans, everybody treated me great. Coach Edsall gave me a shot and Coach Pasqualoni when he came in he treated me very well. It has given me opportunities I wouldn’t have had any other place, I attempted more field goals than any other place in the country. UConn is a great place to be a field goal kicker, we were always in tight end games and we were always kicking field goals. I loved every minute at UConn."

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