SANTA CLARA — Now that the surprise of the 49ers selecting Utah punter Mitch Wishnowsky in the fourth round of the NFL draft has worn off, the praise for the Aussie has started to come in.
It started during OTAs, when wide receiver/punt returner Trent Taylor described what it’s like to try to haul in one of Wishnowsky's punts.
"He has some serious hang time," Taylor said back in early June. "I feel like I’m sitting there waiting for it to come down for way too long. Then once you’re there for too long you start overthinking it. That’s what makes him good.”
During recent training camp sessions, Wishnowsky’s punts have been clocked with an average hang time of over 4.5 seconds. He also has been very accurate in placing the ball in the corners near the goal line.
Punt returns during training camp have been handled Taylor as well as Dante Pettis, D.J. Reed and Richie James. Because of the hang time and the movement of the ball, there have been a few muffs.
49ers coach Kyle Shanahan kept his opinions of the rookie punter reserved, but was still quite complementary.
“It looks like it’s going pretty high,” Shanahan said. “I don’t really have a clock out there, but it looked like the hang time was pretty good and he’s been doing a good job.”
When Shanahan was informed that two of Wishnowsky’s punts hung in the air for over five seconds, he smiled with approval.
“That’s pretty good then,” Shanahan said. “Alright, that’s what I thought.”
Wishnowsky also will serve as the holder for veteran kicker Robbie Gould, who reports that six weeks will be plenty of time for them to adjust to each other and build chemistry.
“We’ll get to it right away, I gotta get used to his accent first, you know,” Gould said. “I had Brad Wing in New York so it should be an easy transition.
“The more time you get to work with guys the easier it will be. The nice part is Week 1 isn’t for another six weeks, so we’ll kick a good amount together over training camp and will have plenty of time to get that right and ready.”
Shanahan added that the Aussie is fitting quickly.
“We like the guy, he’s fitting in great,” Shanahan said. “Even being an Aussie, guys are getting used to it. He’s a funny dude and he’s done a good job at practice.”