By Bill Swartz, KOMO News
SEATTLE -- Unless something catastrophic happens, it’s rare for a football coach to single out the team’s long snapper. So, our ears perked up this week when University of Washington head coach Chris Petersen heaped praise on the man who hikes for punts and field goals, redshirt sophomore A.J. Carty.
“I really don’t want many people to know my name, because if they know my name I’m doing something wrong,” Carty said with a smile. “I didn’t know he (coach Petersen) singled me out. My roommate showed me the press conference video. It was really cool to see that I got some attention, it doesn’t happen very often.”
In the Huskies season opening 30-14 victory at Rutgers, special teams play was extremely important in turning early Scarlet Knights’ momentum to the Dawgs' favor. Carty was a steadying influence for a kick unit featuring several new pieces playing their first game together.
New placekicker Tristan Vizcaino along with redshirt freshman holder Race Porter were perfect on three field goals and three PATs. New punter Joel Whitford kept the football away from dangerous return man Janarion Grant and twice pinned Rutgers inside its own five yard line.
After an accurate delivery, Carty’s primary chore is making sure no opposing players rush up the middle. Easier said than done with a rugby style punter like Whitford.
“The blocking can be hard because Joel (Whitford), is told if he doesn’t have pressure to hold onto it longer. If he does that I have to hold on to my block,” explained Carty.
The math and computer sciences major from Santa Ana, California was a highly recruited long snapper out of Servite High School. Carty fine-tuned his delivery at Chris Rubio’s long-snapping camps and Chris Petersen enlisted him to come to UW.
“We have a really great special teams unit this year. Joel can really punt the ball. Tristan has one of the great legs I’ve seen in a kicker and Race is a really great holder who gets the ball down quickly. We call it ‘money team’, we’re all really good at what we do. It’s awesome to be out there with those guys,” said Carty.
7th ranked Washington hosts Montana this Saturday September 9th at 5 p.m. Pre-game coverage starts at Noon on KOMO News 1000/ FM 97.7