By show of hands, who here thinks they can take down a charging running back?
Not many, I see.
And, again, by show of hands, who thinks they can cover a tight end running a little seam route?
Almost no one.
OK, now, raise your hand if you think you could punt a football if you absolutely had to. We're talking at least 35 yards, probably closer to 40 or 45.
That many, huh?
Yeah well, just because Weber State's Tony Epperson can do all three doesn't mean we all can. The truth of it is, Epperson, a senior, makes it look easy ... or rather, he MADE it look easy.
The 6-foot-4, 220-pounder from Park City came to WSU to play both safety and punter. Before an injury ended his junior season, Epperson recorded 42 tackles, plus had an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery -- all in just six games.
He also had 32 punts totaling over 1,500 yards. In a game against BYU, he boomed a 74-yarder, the sixth-longest punt in WSU history.
Obviously, the guy had a pretty strong leg to go along with quick feet, good hands and a heavy shoulder. Nagging injuries have limited him, however, and earlier this year the Wildcats' coaching staff decided it would be better to have Epperson focus exclusively on punting.
"I can catch snaps and punt and do all that," he said. "If I had to hit someone I definitely would -- definitely would. (But) right now I'm just strictly punter, that's my position."
Logically, that's a good decision.
Sure, Epperson could help in the defensive backfield, if completely healthy. But why risk it? Especially when he's a potential All-American.
Plus, he's got a shot at playing professionally as a punter. That almost certainly wouldn't be the case as a safety.
Epperson recently spent some time in Arizona with former NFL punter Tom Rouen, who gave gave him pointers without trying to change any of his technique. For now, that's a good thing partly because Epperson doesn't really need a new technique and partly because he still doesn't see himself as a full-time punter.
Of course that's not to say he isn't completely committed to the job -- he is -- or that he isn't looking forward to booting the ball all over the field -- he's excited for it -- it's just that, well, he's a safety at heart.
No longer is he a defensive player who also can punt a little. In fact, at this point he's not even a punter who can play a little defense.
Epperson said he's still going through the mental rearranging that comes with his new job description, and who can blame him?
"It's weird, I miss (playing defense) already," he said. "I missed it all summer. It's just weird."
What's really weird is the fact Epperson really looks nothing like a punter. He's 6-4 and still in pretty good shape, although not the kind of shape needed to play in the defensive backfield.
Ever seen a punter? With those guys it sometimes looks like someone dropped a bag of laundry on the field. Not to stereotype or anything, but they're often a bit lumpy, maybe even slightly dumpy. And it's not like they're running wind sprints in practice with the wide receivers.
But Epperson's not like that, nor does it seem he ever really will be.
As the 2013 season draws closer, there's little doubt he'll find his groove as a punter. He is, after all, among the best in the country. Still, it wouldn't be a shock to see him roaming the sidelines while the 'Cats are on defense, chomping at the bit to get in there and pop someone.
And now that we all know him a little better, by show of hands, who thinks Tony Epperson could still do exactly that?
Yeah, me too.