Placekicker Nolan Kohorst sets sight on UNLV’s all-time scoring mark this season

Posted: August 14, 2013 in NCAAF
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UNLV senior placekicker Nolan Kohorst is 7th on the school’s all-time scoring list.

By W. G. Ramirez

UNLV placekicker Nolan Kohorst was a senior at Green Valley High School, pitching for the baseball team when then-head coach Nick Garritano put his ace hurler on the spot. Trailing Poway (Calif.) High School 5-4, Kohorst came off the mound between the 2nd and 3rd innings and Garritano told him he had two choices: “You can (sit down) and put your head between your legs, or you can get out there and be the competitor you are and battle.”

According to Garritano, now the head baseball coach at CSN, Kohorst “went back out and dealt” to help lead the Gators to an important, momentum-building out-of-state win.

None of that has anything to do with football, but is reminiscent to Garritano as one of the more important times in Kohorst’s life, as a competitor. It was also a situation Garritano was able to relate to when discussing one of his favorite athletes he’s coached, not to mention the man who is on the brink of breaking Garritano’s scoring records at UNLV.

“Nolan was a bulldog on the mound, a fierce competitor,” said Garritano, who attended Chaparral High School, kicked for UNLV from 1991-94 and is the school’s second all-time leading scorer with 240 points. “Nolan reminds me of me, because we were both good enough to play college baseball, but football was paying for our education. I think it got to the point – with both of us – where we really didn’t have a choice. We share the same philosophies when it comes to kicking.”

Kohorst currently ranks 7th on UNLV’s all-time scoring list, with 172 points. He’s four points behind sixth-place Henry Bailey and 72 points behind Mike Thomas, the school’s all-time record holder with 244 points. As a junior, the 6-foot, 180-pound Green Valley High School-graduate was named first-team all-Mountain West after connecting on 12 of 14 field-goal attempts for a Mountain West-leading percentage of .857. He also made 32 of 33 extra-point attempts. In three years as the Rebels’ placekicker, he’s missed only two extra-point attempts (85 of 87).

“He had a nice year last year, really took a step forward in terms of accuracy,” UNLV coach Bobby Hauck said. “Through his career here, he’s developed more range. The ability to hit the ball further both kicking off and field goals.

“I think his weight room work this off season is going to allow him to have more range. I hope he carries on where he left off last year and has a great year.”

Kohorst, who enters his senior campaign as a preseason all-league choice, said he’s been tweaking a couple of things with his mechanics and is confident he’ll be prepared for the season-opener in Minneapolis, against the Minnesota Golden Gophers, a team he scored nine points against last year in the season-opener, going 2-for-2 with field-goal attempts and 3-for-3 with extra-point attempts.

Focusing on his follow through and improving the work off his plant foot, Kohorst has had plenty to focus on while the team’s been in Ely for its annual preseason camp.

“Our guys take pride in the kicking game, and Nolan is a visible portion of that obviously,” Hauck said. “They’re the ones that actually know … the most about striking the football – the guys who do it. So they do a really good job of working with each other. We have a prescribed practice planned for them every day, but really in terms of striking the ball, we video them and they spend a lot of time working through it because they know what they need to do.”

Said Kohorst: “There’s always stuff to work on. I think we got a lot of stuff figured out (to improve on), and got some drills set up for Ely to help with that.”

Which leads us back to the Garritano-connection and the little matter of Kohorst climbing the all-time scoring ladder and eventually passing his former baseball coach on the scoring list.

“I’ll probably get a call while I’m up in Ely just to see how it’s going,” Kohorst said about Garritano. “He’s always at the games letting me know that he’s watching and what he’s thinking. He’s always bragging about his records and that I’m never gonna beat him, too. So I’m trying to beat his points record this year.”

Hauck jumped in on the fun and said he is looking forward to Kohorst’s chase this season.

“Nolan’s got a chance to break some of Nick’s records, which is kind of cool,” Hauck said. “But Nick’s a big, physical kicker still; I think he might be able to beat Nolan, so he better watch out.”

Garritano said he doesn’t necessarily keep an eye on the stats, but does enjoy jabbing Kohorst and going back and forth by teasing him during his routine phone calls with him.

“It’s just fun to catch up with him because of how much he’s progressed,” said Garritano, who still holds the school record for field goals made in a game (4), season (21) and career (53) as well as field-goal percentage in a career (.786). “I always thought it would be a neat story if he went to UNLV and broke my records, and if it were to be anyone, I’d want it to be Nolan.”

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