Season 15 of “Hard Knocks” premiered on HBO last night with a look behind the scenes of two NFL training camps. The first time two teams have ever been featured on the popular sports docuseries, this new season of “Hard Knocks” also has the twist of COVID-19, which makes this year’s show even more unique from the 14 before it.
In Tuesday night’s first episode we see masks, sanitizer, socially-distanced meeting rooms and player testing at training camp sites for the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers, the two organizations that signed their privacy rights over to HBO. The Rams’ camp is one to keep a particularly close eye on because former UK kicker Austin MacGinnis is one of three kickers on the Rams’ training camp roster.
MacGinnis signed with L.A. in April, three days after his XFL contract was terminated due to the cancelation (and soon later, the bankruptcy) of the XFL. While in the XFL, MacGinnis was a perfect 10-for-10 on field goals for the Dallas Renegades.
In Los Angeles, MacGinnis is in the mix to become the replacement for Greg Zuerlein, an eight-year starter who left for Dallas. Sam Sloman (Miami OH) and Lirim Hajrullahu (Western Ontario) are MacGinnis’ competitors for the spot. Neither have NFL experience.
With MacGinnis in “Hard Knocks” camp with a storyline that should draw some attention, I am excited to launch the Austin MacGinnis Hard Knocks Report, a morning-after review of MacGinnis’ role on the show.
This is its debut.
Austin MacGinnis Hard Knocks Report: Ep. 1
MacGinnis is seen sitting in a team meeting two rows in front of Jalen Ramsey, one of the Rams’ best players, while head coach Sean McVay talks about masks. It’s an aisle seat, which could mean MacGinnis is already respected in the building, or it could mean he was running late. (At Kentucky we found MacGinnis to be very punctual.) He’s out of focus in the shot, but it’s clear enough to see MacGinnis is focused in real life and responsibly wearing his team-issued PPE.
Approx. Screentime: 3.7 secs
Tune in next week. Maybe he kicks a football through some uprights?