By Mark Janssen
Put a fancy mathematical formula to it and Corey Adams says his long-snaps travel at "... between 45 and 50 miles per hour ... at least that's what someone told me."
While 40-yard-dash times are prevalent to the game of football, for Adams, it's a blurrish .7 second clocking that counts most. That's the touch-to-touch time between when the ball leaves Adams' hands to when it smacks into the hands of his punter, who is standing 14 to 15 yards away.
"My times are .65 to .70 (seconds)," Adams said. "In the NFL you look for a .7, but those guys are so accurate."
But then, Adams, himself, is the definition of the term "accurate" when it comes to long snapping.
Check out this statistic: In a four-year Kansas State career, Adams has snapped the ball on punts and field goals/extra points 455 times in his 46 Wildcat games, and not once ... not even once ... has there been one that has been off-target more than a couple inches.
Oh, and add this.
As a prepster at Lewis-Palmer High School in Monument, Colo., where Adams was a four-year long-snapper, he gives a "... none that I can remember," when asked about any goofed snaps he had.
So, that's ... knock on wood ... eight years worth of games without bouncing one, or zinging one, over the head of a punter or holder.
Even the tough to please Bill Snyder says of Adams, "Amazing. I hate to say it, but I will say it because I love him to death. Since I have known him, he has not made a mistake. He is a great player doing what he does."
Adams, who will be snapping in his home state on Saturday in a 1:10 p.m. CT kickoff at Colorado, said his snapping career started early in his high school career when he was basically just goofing around and a long snap came out with a spiral.
"The coach made me keep doing it over and over, and then my dad started working on it with me," Adams said.
Adams was soon going to the Chris Rubio and Chris Sailer kicking camp in Las Vegas where he quickly became No. 1 in his class. He has now been working the camp for the last several years, which as Rubio says, "That tells you what we think of him."
In Adams' teen years, he practiced his between-his-legs zingers by aiming them at a 12-by-12 inch square for punts, and a 3-point, 2-point, 1-point target for extra points, with a picture of Rubio's face being the bull's-eye.
Chuckling, Rubio said, "The first time I saw Corey, he had some skills, but he was raw. He was really lean. He reminded me of Opie."
Adams has matured from a 6-foot-4, 210-pounder out of high school where he also played defensive end and offensive tackle, to a man of 248 pounds today. And through his countless hours of snapping, he is ranked as the best in the nation at his craft.
Of his goal on each snap, Adams says, "I try to put it on the right hip of a punter so there is an ease of catching it and getting the punt off with the least amount of effort." And with extra points and field goals, he adds, "I try to have the laces out and put it on his knee so he can get it right down."
Laughing, he added, "Everyone thinks they can be a specialist until they go out and try to punt, or try to make a long snap and realize how hard it is."
Rubio estimated that five to seven years ago there were maybe one or two scholarships issued to long snappers. Today, he says the number has grown to 40 or 50.
"I never believed I could have a career as a long-snapper, but now here I am playing in the Big 12," said Adams. "I've played in every stadium (in the Big 12), which was one of my goals."
In the 2008 NFL Draft, San Diego State long-snapper Tyler Schmitt was a sixth-round draft selection. Since then, other long-snappers have been drafted, but none higher.
"Just being drafted would be a huge honor," said Adams on where he might be drafted. "That's my only goal. I just want the opportunity."
Oh, just to keep Adams in his place, he has made one mistake as a Wildcat, which was a false start in the recent Oklahoma State game.
"Braden (Wilson) was making an audible call on what kind of protection we were going to use and the play clock was winding down," he explained. "I kind of twitched. I hoped they wouldn't catch it, but I was guilty. The guys on the bench said, 'Oh my God, his first mistake!' It was kind of funny."
So, is having never made a bad snap something like a pitcher in the midst of a no-hitter ... it's just not talked about?
"No, as specialists, we're pretty tight and joke around about things," said Adams. "You can't get too up-tight or you'll mess with your mind. With specialists, a lot of it is that six inches between the ears."