Warriors football preview: Kicker Matthew Shipley

Aug. 25—Matthew Shipley has

a routine job.

On point-scoring kicks or punts, Shipley sticks to the script. He uses the same steps, the practice swing, and then the deep breath.

"You want to take a deep breath to relax," Shipley said. "That's all it really does. It calms you down when you're back there. There's a lot of pressure on you sometimes. You want to have the same routine when you go out there. Then it's your body taking control and not your mind."

After connecting on 57.1% of his field-goal attempts as a freshman in 2020, he devoted the ensuing offseason to gaining strength. "I started to take care of my body, and I became more consistent," he said.

He drained 18 of 21 field-goal attempts and all 42 extra-point kicks in 2021. Last year, he was 16 of 20, including 10-for-10 on attempts of 30 yards or shorter. In 2022, he also averaged 40.7 yards on 63 punts. "It's the routine," he said.

Shipley, who grew up in Dallas and then the Texas town of Liberty Hill, followed the cleat steps of older brother Michael. "In the

seventh grade, Michael started going to Scott Blanton," Shipley said of the former NFL kicker. Shipley and twin brother Mason, who now kicks for Texas State, also attended Blanton's clinics and training sessions.

The identical twins have the same upbeat personality and competitive drive. "If he came out here (to a UH practice), you'd have no clue," Shipley said. "He could dress up in whatever I'm dressed in, and nobody would know the difference."

At Liberty Hill High, they rotated. "I would do the kickoff, field goal or punt, and he'd do the next," Shipley said. "We're very competitive with each other."

The summer ahead of his senior season in 2019, Shipley was contacted by Michael Ghobrial, who was UH's special teams coordinator at the time. "I was excited," Shipley said, but "I honestly did not know Hawaii was a football school. Coming from Texas, Hawaii was far away."

Shipley eventually committed to UH. But then head coach Nick Rolovich resigned to accept the head coaching job at Washington State. Only Abraham Elimimian and Jacob Yoro were retained by new head coach Todd Graham. "The coaching change happened, (and) I stayed here," Shipley said. "I loved everyone here. I never felt a reason to leave."

The 2020 season, his first as a Warrior, was under COVID-related restrictions. Shipley practiced kicking on the choppy fields at Kapiolani Park. "You have a field-goal post there, and that's all you really need," Shipley said.

Shipley continued to thrive, even after the Warriors underwent another coaching change in 2022. Associate head coach Thomas Sheffield is Shipley's third special teams coordinator. Now the kicking unit is involved in team drills. "I'm

going to do the same thing whether it's raining, snowing or the wind's blowing," Shipley said

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