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49ers kicker Jake Moody feels well-prepared for transition to the NFL

Jun 8, 2023 at 4:15 PM--

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Reporters have had opportunities to watch San Francisco 49ers kicker Jake Moody during a handful of open practices in recent weeks. Some have even meticulously accrued detailed unofficial stats of the rookie's efforts to sail footballs between the uprights.

The team's practice fields aren't the only places Moody has been kicking footballs, though. The rookie has been taking advantage of the proximity of the 49ers' home venue, Levi's Stadium, which sits next door.

"Just having the facilities right next to the stadium has been pretty beneficial," Moody told KNBR's Markus Boucher and Greg Papa on Thursday. "For me, especially, because we've already kicked in the stadium as an operation multiple times, just trying to get used to all the different kind of wind patterns in the stadium and just not having the first [home] game be the first time I kick in that stadium."

Moody kicked through some difficult situations at Michigan, making the young player confident about continuing his success in the NFL.

"It's tough, obviously, to kick in freezing cold conditions with lots of wind," Moody shared. "So, having experienced that in college, I think that is to my benefit. There's not going to be any stadiums, I guess, where I'm too surprised by a lot of wind or whether it's super cold. So I think that's something that will help me in the NFL, especially playing most games indoors or in nicer weather than what I did play in college."

Workout for Brian Schneider

Last week, special teams coordinator Brian Schneider shared the story of the rigorous pre-draft workout he put Moody through, involving using a not-so-great long snapper during the session.

"So right off the bat, these balls are coming everywhere," Schneider said. "And [Moody] was doing great. The times were good, everything was good."

The coach called the snaps "atrocious" and loved putting Moody through those situations because the kicker never flinched. That's one of the reasons Schneider felt Moody was a perfect fit.

"So right there, all those questions you have [about how does] a guy respond to adversity, it just naturally happened at the workout, and I was the only one there, so I was fired up," Schneider added.

Moody was actually the one that found a teammate who could serve as a long snapper for the workout.

"I remembered that one of our tight ends that was draft eligible was kind of our emergency long snapper," Moody explained. "In case all three of our long snappers somehow got hurt, he'd be the guy that goes in to do it. And obviously, long snapping is not his first position, so he's not very good at it.

"So having him snap to me, it was kind of, I guess, a little frustrating that I couldn't find somebody that's an actual long snapper, especially because this is like a job interview, and you want to make sure that everything is going to be put in place to give me the best possible situation to have a good interview.

"But like Coach Schneider probably said, he actually enjoyed that more, and he said that he wish that all of his workouts could have been like that, just to kind of see how I dealt with it as far as kicking. But also mentally, just if I let that get to me too much or if it bothered me too much. So that was kind of an interesting workout, to say the least, and I'm glad that he ended up liking it."

Meeting Matt Prater ... and some guy named Calvin Johnson

Moody shared a funny story about the time in high school when he met Hall of Fame wide receiver Calvin Johnson ... but didn't really care too much that he was meeting Calvin Johnson.

"I was deciding between Central Michigan and Michigan for where I wanted to go to college, and one of my buddies texted me that [kicker] Matt Prater and Calvin Johnson were at the local pizza place, which I lived pretty close to," Moody shared. "And I quickly threw on a jacket and sprinted to the car and drove over there as fast as I could, and they were there.

"I went straight up to Matt Prater and started picking his brain. He was my favorite kicker at the time, so that was pretty cool. And I guess I got so lost in talking with Matt Prater that I just didn't even realize that Calvin Johnson was also just standing right next to me. He actually introduced himself to me because I was talking to Prater for so long that he said, 'Hey, I'm Calvin. Nice to meet you.'

"That's probably a first for him, where somebody doesn't really want to talk to him, and they're talking to somebody else. So that was kind of a funny story from high school."

Replacing Robbie Gould

Moody replaces long-time 49ers kicker Robbie Gould, the dependable veteran who became too costly for the team moving forward. Gould counted $5.5 million against the salary cap last season, prompting the 49ers to draft his replacement.

"I'm not trying to necessarily be better than Robbie or live up to any kind of expectations," Moody said. "I'm just trying to do what I've been doing and not change anything because I think that's where guys can get in trouble, is if they're thinking too much about certain pressure, expectations.

"So I'm just not going to change anything about myself and keep being myself. And Robbie Gould is obviously a phenomenal kicker, like you said, borderline Hall of Famer, probably. I'm not going to try and be Robbie Gould. I'm just going to be myself and do the best that I can to help this team."

The 49ers wrapped up their mandatory minicamp this week. Players will enjoy a break until training camp in late July. However, rookies like Moody will stick around the facility in the coming weeks to get a little extra work in before then.

You can listen to the entire conversation with Moody below.


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