INDIANAPOLIS — There was serious breaking news coming out of the NFL Scouting Combine.
Texas Longhorns head coach Tom Herman not only knows the name of former punter Michael Dickson, but he also uttered the All-American’s name on at least one occasion.
Herman infamously only referred to Dickson as “The Punter” during Big 12 media days last summer, causing something of a social media stir.
However, on Friday, Dickson admitted that Herman slipped a couple times when reading the depth chart and said his name.
“All the special teams guys just looked at each and embraced that moment for a little bit,” DIckson said.
The name thing didn’t seem to bother Dickson too much, even though it did seem to annoy NFL Network’s Rich Eisen.
Haha I appreciate the effort! I guess the coach isn't budging on this one https://t.co/81YzvE2xC6— Michael Dickson (@mdcksn) July 26, 2017
“He can call him anything,” Dickson said about Herman’s nickname. “He can call me some nasty things as well and it’s not going to effect me. My teammates love me and that’s all I care about.”
Dickson’s teammates must have really loved him after he averaged 47.4 yards per punt and won the Ray Guy Award. He was also the star and MVP of the Texas Bowl, where the Longhorns beat Missouri 33-16.
In that game, Dickson punted the ball 11 times. Seven of his punts landed inside the 10-yard line, with four of them inside the 5-yard line. None of the 11 punts were touchbacks.
“For me to win MVP was a shock, but it was a funny thing that happened,” Dickson said. “I was amazed by it.”
Dickson’s specialty is a bent-legged kick where he doesn’t raise his leg all the way up like other punters. The casual-looking boot is something Dickson learned while playing Australian Rules Football for 10 years.
“The bent leg is like a regular thing in that sport. I just think Aussie Rules have this connection between our hand, foot and eyes because we pass the AFL ball around so much and do all different kinds of kicks like a curve or a low one,” Dickson said. “My technique still follows the same fundamentals of an American punter with hips and follow through on everything. But I feel I’ve just that little edge, that kinesthetic sense that I have that is an advantage to me.”
Now off to the NFL after his junior season at Texas, Dickson isn’t resistant to the oddball questions that NFL teams often ask at the combine. The Seattle Seahawks asked Dickson to stare as long as he could without blinking.
“I tried a couple of techniques: Looking away from the light, trying to block any sort of wind coming into the eyes,” Dickson said. “That was a weird process.”
Dickson said he only lasted 14 seconds the firs time he attempted Seattle’s staring contest. By the third time he did it, Dickson said he figured out a technique where he could look around the room and let his eyes get a little watery.
That’s right, an NFL team spent money to ask a punting prospect to stare. Not just one time, but three times. The staring contest wasn’t just for Dickson, either. Notre Dame wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown was also given the test.
Still, that’s somehow not quite as strange as your coach refusing to say your name even though he’s the consensus best punter in the nation.
Dickson said Herman has actually stopped calling him “The Punter.” In fact, Herman doesn’t call him anything anymore. Herman told Dickson that once he graduates that he’ll say his name. Dickson said he’s 18 credits away from getting a business degree from Texas.
Since that won’t happen before the draft, Dickson will have to settle with hearing his name called at the NFL draft in April.