March 4, 2013

Special Teams University Interviews Philadelphia Eagles Long Snapper Jon Dorenbos

By: Long Snapping Coach Kyle Stelter

Recently Special Teams University was able to catch up with Philadelphia Eagles long snapper Jon Dorenbos to ask him a few questions.

Q: What is your earliest recollection of snapping a ball?

A: My high school coach, Coach Craven, told me I should snap. I messed around with it my Senior year. And I could do it.... but I definitely didn't practice it or take it serious. It got the job done.

After high school I went to a Junior College. I played OLB and some fullback. We had a unbelievable long snapper whose name was Tim Thurman, a 6'6" TE that could snap, really well.

I later added some of his snapping film to my highlighted tape and sent it to colleges. I ended up getting a full ride to University of Texas, El Paso (UTEP Miners) because of it. Being that the snapper wasn't me on the tape, That's when I started taking snapping serious.

Q: Did you look up to any long snappers growing up?

A: I didn't follow the NFL that close growing up. It wasn't until I got into the NFL that I started watching other snappers. Lonnie Paxton and Mike Bartrum were the guys that i thought were money. 

Ironically, Lonnie lived down the road from me in my hometown and we become "boys" and (Mike) Bartrum had a career ending injury. I've filled in for Mike ever since. Both of these guys are "money".

Q: What is your favorite memory of snapping in college?

A: The fact that It's what got me on the field right away.

Q: How much has your form changed from high school to now?

A: Snapping for me has been an evolution. I don't really think I figured it out until my 4th year in the league. The difference between high school and the pros is you have to block in the pros. 

So snapping, then blocking is a big difference and your form has to allow your body's momentum to be going backwards to block like a lineman after the snap.

Q: Do you have any advice for young snappers?

A: We are all fighting the clock, with an effort to play this game as long as possible. One of my high school coaches, Bill Simpson (NFL Vet), told me:

"It doesn't matter where you go, as long as your on the field. Meaning, go to a school where you can play. Then ball out, and someone will discover you. If you ain't on the field, no one can find you."

So keep snapping. Do whatever it takes to get on the field. Snapping will do that for most.

Also a snapper's mental game is more important than his size or speed. Don't get down if you have a bad snap, and don't get too high if you are doing well. As Coach Reid told me, "Be the calm of the storm."

Kickers and punters can be corky, just go with it. And remember, all we do is snap the ball 8 and 15 yards. It ain't rocket science, don't over think it and make it more complicated than it is.

Jon is also a professional magician and motivational speaker. If you would like to learn more about him you can check out his website:

You can also follow him on Twitter @JonDorenbos

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