INDIANAPOLIS —- Notre Dame kicker Kyle Brindza entered 2014 with his eyes on the NFL. But his senior season with the Fighting Irish did not go as he planned. He missed 10 of his 24 field-goal attempts after converting 75.4 percent of his attempts in his first two seasons in South Bend.
His confidence shaken as he began preparing for the NFL scouting combine and pre-draft workouts, Brindza reached out to a fellow kicker who could relate to what he was going through — Blair Walsh.
Brindza and Walsh first met four years ago, before Brindza headed to Notre Dame for his freshman year. Both kickers were working with Brandon Kornblue, a kicking consultant in Naples, Florida.
“[Walsh is] actually a pretty close friend of mine," Brindza told a group of reporters yesterday at the scouting combine at Lucas Oil Field. "Just how he went through his senior year at Georgia, I kind of went through the same struggles. He’s been able to coach me through everything and help me."
In that senior year at Georgia, Walsh split the uprights on just 21 of his 35 field-goal attempts, and his 60 percent accuracy rate was well below how he performed as a sophomore and junior. Walsh regrouped after the season and convinced the Vikings to spend a 2012 sixth-round pick on him.
Walsh was one of the NFL's most accurate kickers that season, making the NFL's All-Pro team as a rookie. Meanwhile, Brindza was taking over as the primary kicker for the Fighting Irish.
Now, he, too, is trying to make it to the NFL and credits Walsh for helping him get his groove back.
"I’m not going to put  behind me just because I learned so much," he said. "As Blair Walsh has told me, you learn from your past. Learn from what you did your senior year and never do it again."