Brandon Talton is the most accurate kicker in Nevada football history and ranks second among active FBS players in made field goals per game (1.69).
After nailing all seven of his kicks last week (four field goals and three extra points), Talton won his fifth Mountain West special teams player of the week honors Monday. But he's quick to deflect his personal success to the work of his teammates. It's easy to overlook, but a made field goal is more than the kicker doing his job. The snapper must be accurate, the hold most be precise and the offensive linemen have to hold their blocks.
When all done together, that field-goal routine will take no longer than 1.5 seconds. But it's the difference between a made kick and a missed one, which can be the difference between a win and a loss. And more often than not, Talton's kicks are good. The junior from Vacaville, Calif., burst onto the scene by kicking a game-winning 56-yard field goal in his first college game. He was a walk-on back then who was shifted to a scholarship in the post-game locker room.
Talton's success continued past his debut as he's made 44-of-52 field goals, a 84.6 percent conversation rate, tops for a Nevada kicker. Talton is 8-of-9 on field goals this season and has successfully pounded home all 13 of his extra-point attempts. He appeared on NSN Daily on Friday and broke down the field-goal kicking process, giving a nod to snapper Austin Ortega and holder Julian Diaz, the Wolf Pack's punter.
"We always go back 7.5 yards every single time," Talton said. "It always starts with the snap, obviously, but I always love my big boys up front who are always going to block for me. I always tell them I appreciate them after every snap because it ain't easy being on the front, especially having three guys rush 'A' gaps at the same time, so I definitely appreciate them. We talk to these guys telling them that we want them to engage in the contact and just hold it there for 1.25 seconds at most. We're really fast at times at, like, 1.15. But my snapper's elite. He always does laces out all the time. He's always over the spot. Julian has worked very, very hard ever since last year to get his holds great just for me, and he does over 100 holds a day and always is hitting a spot. We put a penny down just for him to hit that spot, so I really appreciate it to have guys that work hard every single day and want to perfect their craft just for me to be successful as well."
Talton also credits his consistency toward his competitiveness, which drives him to work hard every practice to continue to get better and not take his early success at Nevada for granted.
"I think what makes me most consistent is just being in love with the craft," Talton said. "Going out every single day knowing that I want to make these kicks. I am a huge competitor. I hate to lose. I always want to be the best at everything that I do, whether it's Monopoly or kicking field goals or anything. I want to win and everything. That's a credit to my parents really growing up because my dad never really let me win in anything, so it kind of pushed me to be always want to be on top of my game. I've just worked really hard for this. I've been in situations where I haven't been as successful in like high school. I've been on the other side of it, and I don't want to be there again, and I just tell myself that and work really hard so I'm not there."
You can watch Brandon Talton's full NSN Daily interview below.