Yount catches up quickly

Posted Nov 30, 2011

New Browns long-snapper Christian Yount spent Wednesday developing a rhythm and rapport with punter-holder Brad Maynard and kicker Phil Dawson.

Every punt, field goal attempt and extra point try begins with the long-snapper and for nearly nine years, the Browns had a Pro Bowl-caliber one in Ryan Pontbriand.

However, after waiving Pontbriand and signing rookie Christian Yount on Tuesday, the Browns spent Wednesday’s practice getting their new long-snapper acclimated to kicker Phil Dawson and punter Brad Maynard, all while dealing with the first significant snow fall of the season.

“We talked a lot today about what his rhythm is and what he does pre-snap because that’s part of the timing,” Yount said of Dawson. “It’s great to have him and Maynard here. They’re both great vets who are staples of this sport. It’s great to have them around and kind of learn from them, learn their routine, so I’m really fortunate to have those two guys here and helping me out.”

Although Dawson lost his most tenured teammate Tuesday, he was happy with the work the specialists got in during practice Wednesday.

“Christian did a great job today,” Dawson said. “That’s a tough spot to step into. I’m sure he’s fully aware of whose spot he’s filling and he stepped right in there today and did a really nice job.”

Yount started his NFL career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers while their regular long-snapper, Andrew Economos, recovered from an injury.

After playing in seven games with the Buccaneers, Yount was waived following the team’s 24-18 loss to the Chicago Bears at Raymond James Stadium. With Yount as the long-snapper, Tampa Bay did not have a punt blocked. Kicker Connor Barth converted 14 of 15 field goals and all 12 point-after touchdown attempts.

Yount, however, got his start as a long-snapper well before he made it to Tampa Bay.

“I got started going into freshman high school ball,” Yount said. “I wasn’t a center. My dad suggested it to me to get more playing time. I was a defensive lineman and he had a buddy that was a long-snapper in college and said, ‘Hey, why don’t you try long-snapping?’ I did it, kept doing it, kept working at it, kept getting better at it and it got me into college (at UCLA). It got me a scholarship and got me here.”

Playing for Tampa Bay, Yount was used to dealing with the intense Florida heat. Now with the Browns, he will have to deal with the opposite, bitter cold. Of the Browns’ final five games of the year, four will be in cold-weather cities.

The Browns have two home games, Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens and January 1st against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Browns play in Pittsburgh Dec. 8th and at Baltimore on Dec. 24th.

Early forecasts for Sunday’s game are calling for temperatures between 38 and 47 degrees with a 50 percent chance of showers.

“I’ve snapped in pretty cold weather,” Yount said. “At UCLA, we played up at Washington State and Oregon and we played the Eagle Bank Bowl, which is out in Washington D.C. in January. The field was frozen and it was -2 degrees or something. I’ve snapped in cold. It’s the same thing. As long as I keep my hands warm, I’ll be fine.”

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