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The midfielder for the Colorado Rapids of the MLS is having a career year. Has scored four goals; his previous season high was one. In his eighth season playing professional soccer, he is really coming on strong.
Needless to say, these are good times for the Sturgis brothers.
Nathan is the midfielder; his younger brother Caleb is the rookie kicker for the Dolphins. And what an incredible start to his rookie season. After going perfect for the preseason, Sturgis is 6-for-6 in the regular season with five of those kicks from at least 40 yards out. Can you think of a non-quarterback rookie who has had a greater early season impact? I can’t.
Up in Colorado, Nathan Sturgis has noticed. He is in the heart of the MLS season now so it’s difficult to watch every game. But he keeps up as best as he can and you can tell in his voice how proud he is of the second professional athlete in the family.
“It’s been really cool to see him do so well,” Nathan says. “I’m hoping to see him in person when the soccer season is over. I knew he had the ability to succeed at that level.”
Nathan and Caleb Sturgis, sons of a Pastor from St. Augustine, Fla., are two of six kids. All played collegiate sports. “My dad preaches on Sundays, but I know he follows Caleb as close as he can,” said Nathan.
And what he sees is the same thing Nathan sees: a talented kicker, comfortable in his own skin, confident in his abilities, quiet in nature and willing to pay the price of hard work, a player who knows he is only as good as his last kick.
“Caleb stopped playing soccer and turned to kicking in high school,” Nathan says. “I guess it was a pretty good decision.”
So what is Caleb Sturgis like? He is highly intelligent, extremely determined and seems to have the perfect DNA for a placekicker: Calm, calculating and low key.
Earlier this week, I took Caleb Sturgis off to the side in the Dolphins locker room and rattled off 10 questions. The answers, for the most part, were brief but in truth they said all you need to know.
1. You were perfect in the preseason and you’ve been perfect so far in the regular season. Can you even remember the last time you missed a kick?
Sturgis: Against Jacksonville State my senior season at Florida. The kick was blocked.
2. How do you stay calm and focused?
3. What is your mindset when a coach tries to ice you with a late timeout as the Colts did a few weeks ago?
Sturgis: Just make the first kick; if there is one after that then make that as well. What they do to me should never change my mindset.
4. If the wind is blowing real hard at your back and you hit the ball really solid, how far can you kick a field goal?
Sturgis: If it’s blowing really hard, I think I can get it there from the high 60s.
5. Is there a part of you that is still in disbelief that you are one of 32 kickers in the National Football League?
Sturgis: Sometimes you have to sit back and thank God that you have gotten this opportunity and how fortunate you are. But I also know there are about 60 guys still trying to get into this league so you always have to stay sharp to keep your job.
6. In your dreams, are you lining up a field goal to win the Super Bowl and how does that dream play out?
Sturgis: (Laugh) I never miss in my dreams.
7. How much do you study other kickers; their habits, tendencies and generally the way they approach their job?
Sturgis: I do that a lot. I probably have looked at just about every kicker in the NFL and his mechanics and what he does well. It’s important for me to know that. Last offseason, I studied Josh Scobee a lot and was able to kick with him. This offseason, I took a close look at Phil Dawson to pick things up from him.
8. Is this fun for you?
Sturgis: Absolutely. When you win it’s always fun. My confidence level is
high now, but it’s important that it’s always high.
9. Your brother Nathan is a professional soccer player: Be honest now: Who has the better leg?
Strugis: I would beat him in distance, but he has always been the best athlete in our family. If he kicked footballs, he’d be one of the 32 guys in the league.
10. Finally, you’re only a rookie, but successful kickers have long careers in the NFL. How long can you see yourself playing?
Sturgis: Right now it’s just week-to-week. But I never see myself not wanting to kick. As long as I can be productive, I’d like to be able to kick. Why not?
On Monday, AC in the AM previews the Dolphins-Saints game.
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.
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