Over the next couple of days the BSD team will be writing up the interviews from yesterday's media day. Jim Grobe sat down and talked to the media (all 8 of us) for about an hour, and I must say that it is extremely refreshing to have a coach that is as highly-esteemed as Coach Grobe sit down with the local media and talk for that long.
Jimmy Newman is a junior kicker from Oxford, Alabama. After missing his first field goal of last year, Jimmy reeled off a Wake Forest record 12 in a row (active), and heads into this year as a huge threat for the Deacs on special teams. Newman has also never missed a PAT in his collegiate career (65/65). Jimmy was our first interview yesterday, and we asked him how he's doing so far in practice, how the freshmen are progressing, and what his mindset is before a big kick.
Click through for the entire interview with Jimmy Newman.
BSD: What are you looking to build on from last year?
JN: I’m looking to build on kickoffs because I need to do a better job on that. Coach Henry and Coach Grobe haved done a great job so far in managing the kickoff unit and the special teams overall. It’s really helped us out a lot. In terms of field goals I want to continue being consistent on those. Turner Faulk and Logan Feimster have both done a great job on that. That makes things a lot easier when you have a solid unit like that. Now we are just working on consistency and getting ready for Syracuse.
BSD:Take us through your mindset on any kick going into it.
JN: At about 2nd down I start getting ready and calm my nerves. I get out of the net, put my helmet on and get focused on the task at hand. Once I’m called on, I go out there and have a routine that I keep the same time. It’s all about muscle memory, so whether or not it’s a big kick or a small kick you keep everything the same, take some deep breaths and hopefully it will go through the pipes.
BSD: How long did it take you to get used to being the main guy in college?
JN: My freshman year, in practice, I didn’t really know how it was going to go. I mean I kicked in high school, but never in those high energy situations like I have experienced here at Wake. I was lucky enough to work out with Morton Anderson aftert my freshman year. He really helped me go through the mental aspect of kicking. He gave me steps to trick my mind into believing that it has already been in that type of situation even if I really haven’t been. We also do things like we did today where Coach Henry gave me 42 yard kick and said it was the game-winner. It just gives you situations where you feel like you have already been there and seen it even if it is just on the practice field.
BSD: Can you give me your thoughts on the two freshmen (Chad Hedlund and Alex Kinal), and also your thoughts on the team overall that you have seen so far?
JN: Chad and Alex are both really good and I like them a lot. They are both really positive and has been fun having them here so far. They are both freshmen, and they have to get used to the atmosphere and how everything goes. They are doing a great job so far adjusting, and they both do a great job of pushing me to be better.
As far as the team goes, I am the kicker and I don’t know too much about the defensive and the offensive schemes, but it does seem a lot different out there. There is a lot more energy and excitement out there. There is certainly more focus than there has been in the past. Everybody has seemingly set a lot of goals and working really hard to get to that point. Like I said, I don’t know a ton about the team’s schemes, but we are in a much better position starting out mentally and physically than we have been in the past.
BSD: As of right now, what are you doing on the field? Are you punting along with kicking and kickoffs, or just kicking?
JN: I am not practicing punting right now. Since Alex Kinal came in, he has been handling that so far. I could punt if I had to, but right now they haven’t asked me to do too much with that. I am backing Kinal and (Alex) Wulfeck up right now. I am just focusing on kickoffs and field goals at the moment.
BSD: You haven’t missed a PAT (65/65) in your collegiate career. Do y’all talk about streaks like that, or is it like a no-hitter in baseball?
JN: I try not to think about streaks too much. If I am thinking about all of that it will take my focus off actually hitting the ones I need to hit. I try to focus on the task at hand. Honestly, I have been slow on some of the kicks and probably should have had them blocked, but the unit as a whole has done a great job of blocking, and snapping, and holding so that hasn’t happened yet. It makes it seem like it’s me doing the work, but it’s a huge team effort.
BSD: If you had one game you could circle and point to which one is it?
JN: I am really excited for a couple of games. Notre Dame has to be first because they are a big team that everybody dreams about playing, but also because I know their kickers pretty well. I am also excited to play in the Dome in Syracuse. I’m looking forward to playing in a no-wind situation like that because I’ve never done it before.
BSD: How does playing in a dome affect your kicks?
JN: Actually, playing in domes knocks the hangtime of punts and kicks down, so that’s a downside. I would much rather have that than worry about the crosswinds or wind in my face when I’m lining up for a kick.
BSD: Thanks to Jimmy for taking the time to meet with us and it was a pleasure. Good luck this year!