Maybe you saw the tribute that Nebraska put together to honor Sam Foltz, its former all-conference punter who died in a car accident in July. For their first punt of the game against Fresno State, the Cornhuskers lined up with just 10 players on the field and no punter back. Then they took a delay of game penalty, which Fresno State graciously declined.
It was a stirring way to remember Foltz. To Drew Galitz, it brought back a flood of memories to that July day when Foltz passed.
Galitz, Baylor’s sophomore punter, served as a counselor at the same kicking camp that Foltz attended the day he died. After the camp, a car driven by Michigan State punter Mike Sadler that contained Foltz and LSU kicker Colby Delahoussaye lost control, slid off the road and hit a tree. Foltz and Sadler were killed; Delahoussaye suffered minor injuries.
Like so many, Galitz was shocked when he learned the news of the accident. To see the way Nebraska honored Foltz on Saturday was “awesome,” he said.
“I was with him an hour before he passed,” Galitz said. “It was just crazy. I see him one minute, and the next he’s gone. That meant the world to me when I saw that (tribute).”
Specialists travel in their own subculture on a football team. They typically hit the field for one play at a time, and carry extremely defined roles. As such, kickers and punters form kind of their own fraternity.
Galitz said he knows specialists on teams all over the country, partially because of kicking camps like that one in Wisconsin. He said he enjoyed getting to know Foltz.
“I talked to him a little bit about Nebraska,” Galitz said. “One of the kids who played in my district in high school goes to Nebraska, their starting running back Devine Ozigbo. I was talking to (Foltz) about him, and he goes, ‘Yeah, he’s doing really good. He’s starting this year.’ We were just talking and stuff, and he was a great guy.”
So Galitz definitely smiled when he saw Nebraska’s “missing man” punt formation. He performs his own gameday tribute to Foltz, just slightly less visible.
“I honor him and Mike Sadler by wearing (their jersey numbers) 27 and 3 on my wrist,” Galitz said. “Every game.”