CATOOSA — Catoosa High School kicker/punter Irving Friedman keeps busy. Along with being an Eagle Scout, he attends Tulsa Tech and studies cyber security, takes high school classes and plays football for the Indians.
Oh, and he also trains with University of Oklahoma kicker Austin Seibert.
Busy young man.
“I can’t mess around playing video games,” Friedman said.
The special teams specialist is serious about kicking. He just happened to meet the right person to connect with Seibert, the Sooners’ do-it-all booter.
“I went to Broken Arrow Freshman Academy, that’s where I train, and I met another kicker who said he knew Austin Seibert,” Friedman said.
He advised Friedman to contact Seibert through Twitter, and that’s just what he did.
“I followed him on Twitter, messaged him and he said we’ll get started right away,” Friedman said. “In June, there was an OU special teams camp and that’s where I met him. We had a conversation and he said we’d get started the next week.”
A tweet, a conversation and a camp led to Friedman staying with Seibert in Norman for an intense week of training with the Groza Award nominee. NCAA rules didn’t allow Friedman to work out on campus grounds, so the pair trained at Norman High.
“He gave me specific types of drills for field goals and punting,” Friedman said. “I had to do 500 drops a day to get that perfect drop each time.”
He also got some great tips.
“Keep straight, keep your eye on the ball and point your foot down,” Friedman said. “Those were the best three pieces of advice he gave me. Just do it, don’t think, just do it.”
While Seibert is trying to help the Sooners win a national championship and trying to get to the NFL, Friedman wants to get a college scholarship where he can punt, kick and study computer engineering, and maybe one day follow Seibert’s path.
“He’s working hard to get to the NFL,” Friedman said. “He said his goal is to get to the NFL. I’m proud of him.”
Friedman also trains with former Kansas kicker Cole Moos. Friedman soaks in as much knowledge as he can, from his trainers and also from internet training videos.
Friedman has worked on different punting techniques — conventional punting, placement punting, Aussie Style punting and Marquette King Style punting.
University of Houston’s Dane Roy trained Friedman in the art of Aussie Style, where a punter uses backspin to help stop the ball from going into the end zone for a touchback. And Marquette King Style, which he saw on YouTube.
“I was self-taught,” Friedman said. “This method gives additional hangtime, yardage and roll.”
Friedman said he has been able to punt the ball up to 80 yards using this method.
The Catoosa senior has a 4.0 GPA and is doing what he can to move on to the next level in academics and athletics. Solid kickers and punters are hard to find in college, and even in the pros. So far, at least three NFL kickers have lost their jobs. So a good foot is a commodity to any team.
Studying under these established punters and kickers is also a commodity for Friedman. Staying with Seibert and working one on one for a week is something he can use to maybe one day pay for his education, and also something he will never forget.
“It was a once in a lifetime opportunity,” he said.