The majority of our time here in Mobile, Ala., has been spent covering Head Coach Jon Gruden and the Oakland Raiders, as they coach up the plethora of offensive and defensive prospects. With highly touted prospects like quarterbacks Drew Lock and Daniel Jones on the North roster, a lot of media attention has been geared towards them; however, the specialists are getting some love too.
Mitch Wishnowsky out of the University of Utah — originally from Australia — has been the talk of the Senior Bowl. The punter has an arsenal of tools in his utility belt, including a rocket for a leg. On several occasions, Wishnowsky has boomed punts downfield, and the amount of hang time each punt soars with is impressive, but that’s not all he can do.
“I switch things up with different sorts of range on the field, and different weather conditioning,” Wishnowsky said. “I think I’ve got a few clubs [in my bag].”
Raiders Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator Rich Bisaccia emphasized all throughout 2018 that he wants his specialists, specifically the punter, to have a few tricks up their sleeve, and Wishnowsky is fulfilling all of Bisaccia’s requests. Entering this week, the former Utah Ute didn’t know what to expect, but he’s enjoyed his interactions with the Special Teams Coordinator thus far.
“He’s a high-energy guy, I’ve really only been in one special teams room, so I didn’t know what to expect,” he said. "Things are a little different, but like I said, he’s very high energy.”
Oklahoma Sooners kicker Austin Seibert shared a similar sentiment when asked about Bisaccia, who’s earned the reputation as one of the best special teams coaches in the NFL.
“It’s been awesome. He gets the most out of the specialists, from what I’ve seen here,” Seibert said Thursday. “He keeps us busy during practice, and then in the film room too. I didn’t really understand how much went into a punt team, and all that, but it’s very cool how the NFL is different from college.”
Bisaccia is known for developing and bringing the best out of players, and Seibert noticed that early on in their interactions at practice. The Raiders coach has put the Illinois native in plenty of simulated scenarios, and even after coming from a big school like Oklahoma, Seibert is finding ways to improve.
“Just giving me pressure kicks, giving me longer kicks today,” he explained. “Along with that, just knowing that when I’m here, I’m here to impress and do what I do. He’s giving me the opportunity to do that.”
He might not be attempting kicks in high pressure situations in an actual game format, but performing in front of hundreds of NFL scouts and coaches can be pretty stressful. Even though being coached by NFL coaches can be intense, it’s nothing Seibert didn’t experience at Oklahoma.
“If you’re making kicks and doing things right, he’s probably going to be a little nicer,” he joked in reference to Bisaccia. “I can feel the intensity he can bring, but I was coached like that too at Oklahoma.”
Wishnowsky and Seibert only practiced with Bisaccia for three days, but in the time they spent together he’s imparted wisdom, and provided memories the duo won’t forget. Who knows where the pair of prospects will end up, but each have proved to be talented individuals.