Tuesday | September 26, 2017
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UH football: Gaudion develops dual role as punter, holder

Like many young people in Hawaii, Stan Gaudion works two jobs.

Gaudion, a second-year freshman, is listed as the No. 1 punter and holder on the Hawaii football team’s newly released depth chart.

As a former Australian rules football player, Gaudion’s ability to boom punts was apparent. He also participated in Prokick Australia, a Melbourne-based program that develops Australian athletes into American football punters and kickers.

Gaudion has become a reliable holder on point-scoring kicks, a skill he picked up after joining the Rainbow Warriors last year.

“I still don’t know if I’ve got it,” Gaudion said, smiling. “But we’ll find out on Saturday” when the Warriors open the season on the road against UMass.

Special teams coordinator Mayur Chaudhari said Gaudion was a logical choice as holder. On most teams, the specialists spend several periods in practices working out separately from the other units. It also is an efficient use of travel-roster space to have a holder play another position. Last year’s holder was quarterback Ikaika Woolsey.

“If you’re a punter and you want to play at the next level, you’ve got to be able to know how to hold,” Chaudhari said. “If you’re a specialist, you want to learn how to do it because you’re with the kicker and snapper the most.”

Gaudion studies videos of his holds. He also consults frequently with Chaudhari, snapper Noah Borden and the kickers. Head coach Nick Rolovich has been helpful.

“Coach Rolovich was actually a holder in his day when he was the backup quarterback for a little while (in the Arena Football League),” Gaudion said. “He’s given me a few tips, showing me what to do and what not to do.”

Rolovich recalled his role when the San Jose SaberCats defeated the Arizona Rattlers to win ArenaBowl XVIII in 2004.

“I’m a world champion as a holder for the Arena League,” Rolovich said. “The only reason I have a world championship ring is because I threw incompletions and was a holder. I probably shouldn’t be the one teaching him. In the ArenaBowl, I was like, laces in, missed the PAT, almost cost us the game.”

Rolovich said Gaudion has made the most of his opportunity.

“He’s got nothing else to do in practice but learn how to hold,” Rolovich mused. “I’m glad he’s doing it. And he’s been good at it. He’s been pretty solid. And Noah (Borden) has nice snaps back there, and that makes it easier. It’s an operation.”

The holder is football’s equivalent of the pivot fielder on a baseball double play. “It’s really an important job,” Chaudhari said. “You need to get a lot of reps at it. To me, not many people realize how difficult it is and how much work you have to put into it to make it perfect. I’d rather have a guy (like Gaudion) who has athletic hands and good decision-making because he punts in trouble and tough situations and takes it seriously and does it. He can put that punter hat off and put the holder hat on and do it.”

 

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