Family Business: Willpower

Princeton fans appreciate will power. They are will power. they just don’t want to see will power Play often.

Don’t worry, he understands.

Powers was a two-time Ivy League pick for the undefeated and nationally-ranked Princeton Tigers. He averaged four times per game this season, or practiced for a few hours a week. What he did with these few opportunities, however, was what made him special.

He knows how valuable a strong punter can be to a football team. He knows how valuable a strong punter is to this football team.

It runs in the home.

• • •

When Bowers plays at home against Dartmouth this Saturday, he will be at Bowers Field. This is no coincidence. His father, William (Bill) Powers ’79, an Ivy League punter, made a generous donation of $10.5 million to Princeton University to fund the FieldTurf field in Princeton Stadium.

Bill Powers played a role in sending his son to Princeton, but it might not be what you expected. As the youngest of five siblings, Will said his father never forced him to choose his alma mater. He provides any father’s guidance and advice Will seeks along the way, but the decision always rests with the son.

The father’s more immediate influence came a few years ago, when his son realized that his playing power as a football defender could translate well to a football field.

“When I started playing in elementary school, he would take me out and we would spend hours working on my shot, just trying to perfect it,” he said. “He sets a lot of records and it’s a good competitive relationship. He pushes me because of what he can achieve as a footballer. It’s really special to have him advise me based on what he’s doing.”

Will, who won Adidas All-America honors as a punter at Choate Rosemary Hall, spent a few weekends playing his game before heading to Saturday’s Princeton game with his father. Those trips gave him his own connection to the program and existing players, and it was that connection that led him to choose Princeton.

Connecting with teammates is critical to Powers. He devoted his high school year to tennis and even traveled to Barcelona to train and play. By his sophomore year, he was back on the grill.

“The personal nature of the sport is unappealing to me,” Bowers said. “You win and lose completely independently, and it’s a bit lonely to be honest. The team aspect of football has always bothered me and I think that’s what brought me back to it.”

It eventually brought him to the Princeton team, which is aiming for the ultimate goal in 2022.

• • •

Most of us have kicked a ball and thought nothing of it. For punters, however, the chances of success are slim and require dedication and skill. To succeed in his craft, Powers focused on three things.

“The biggest one is fast,” he said. “We have people running as fast as we can, especially on the edge, so you have a maximum of 2.2 seconds to do that. Second, the drop is very important. If it’s off by a millimeter, I can get away with it. “Two to three millimeters , you are playing with fire. The drop has to be the same every time to have such a high spiral turnover point. The third is location. You don’t want that ball in the middle of the court. “

2.2 seconds. 2-3 mm. Placed on a specific side of the field. Defender punches you. There are limited opportunities to do your job, and if you make a mistake, the responsibility falls directly on you.

Not so simple, right?

However, Bowers has been terrific since he got the starting job as a freshman. During his career, he averaged 40.9 yards per kick, which would be the second-best career record in Princeton history. Of his 93 career appearances, 28 have locked teams within 20, 28 of which have been fair catches. Seventeen have been over 17 yards.

Those numbers are impressive, but the impact on the team is what matters to him.

“You only get a few chances per game, so you really have to lock in as an expert in every game,” Bowers said. “I’m surrounded by 119 other people. Although it’s a very independent position, my team is supportive. I see my position as trying to help my team rather than trying to achieve a long-term goal. I consider myself It’s the defense. I’m trying to pin them back as much as possible to help the defense.”

His influence has been felt and noticed.

“Will’s role may not get much recognition, but his impact on a weekly basis is huge,” the head coach said. Bob Soureth Say. “Not only did he keep flipping positions when we were backed up, but he did a fantastic job of locking opponents deep into their territory.”

Powers knew that Sures believed in him, but that didn’t mean he would send him out every quarter. This is an interesting dynamic for aggressive and successful punters. For all the preparation you have for your role, you know that the better your team is, the more limited your chances will be to play.

For example, if it’s No. 4 and No. 1, then Powers will be ready…but he won’t exactly run the field expecting a nod from Surace.

“No. 4 and No. 4 could be a good indicator of the grey area of ​​whether he’s going to play,” Bowers said. “between Ryan Butler And with our offensive line, I have a lot of confidence that we can get those yards. I want my team to do well, but I also spend a lot of time in my craft and I want to go out there and pursue what I love to do. I never wish my team didn’t go down first. “

“But maybe there’s a really big lead, I don’t mind another point,” he added with a smile.

Bowers, a public and international affairs student who took an interest in entrepreneurship after his football career, went through a lot of big leads. As a starter, he went 7-0 in each of his three seasons. The 8-0 feeling is unforgettable, and he most wants to have that experience this weekend.

“We’re focused on one game at a time,” Bowers said. “The most important thing is to be humble but confident about why we are here.”

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