Folk: 'It won't be like last year'

At Friday's kickoff luncheon Mike Stoops told the crowd that the kicking game would b a team strength this year. The 600 or so in attendance started laughing. Stoops wasn't joking. With a newfound sense of confidence and the presence of new special teams coordinator Joe Robinson, the Wildcat kicking teams could once again be a strength. We spoke with Nick Folk about the new attitude.

You have been kicking really well, how confidant is this unit right now? How often did you workout this summer?

Folk: "Four days a week with Ben and Danny. We went out there Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and just worked real hard all summer long. We all worked out real hard this summer."

How much has it helped having long snapper Ben DalMolin back?

Folk: "It's pretty nice having Ben back and working with us full time. He's with us all practice, all day. It helps us get our timing back down, back together. We're all on the same page. It's a lot better. Ben's a good snapper and I like having him around."

Since Danny Baugher is the only punter on the roster, are you in line to back him up?

Folk: "We're all punting at the end of practice with Coach Robinson and seeing how things are going. Were seeing who has the lowest operation time, yet who has the best hang time and best averages, because if you get thrown in there you have to perform."

Did you punt in high school?

Folk: "I did actually. I kicked off and punted my junior and senior year. My senior year I did field goals."

How are your kickoffs coming?

Folk: "Kickoffs, still working on that. It's getting better. I'm still trying to get my hangtimes up there, while keeping my distance the same."

Does kicking off matter? Is there an extra strain on the leg?

Folk: "Kickoffs do put a strain on the leg. It is the most strenuous kick. I personally like to kickoff just once a week during a game week. Maybe like a Tuesday or Wednesday and just get six or seven kickoffs in, to just get my stroke the same. I just try to keep everything fundamentally sound so I can keep my leg fresh. A lot of kickers like to do it that way. Most kickers don't like to kickoff everyday. It's really strenuous on the leg. As far as field goal and kickoffs, I like doing both."

How tired are you of hearing about last season?

Folk: "I'm tired of it, but it's the truth, we didn't perform like we should. I believe we can do a lot better, I know we can do a lot better. I have faith in everyone. It will be a lot better this year, that's for sure."

How much pressure will there be for that first kick?

Folk: "I kind of want to get the first kick out of the way and move on from there. I just want to get to NAU and start playing. The first one will be the biggest one."

Is Jason Bondzio pushing you?

Folk: "We're competing everyday in practice and it's getting competitive out there. We're helping each other along."

Is it better chasing or being chased?

Folk: "It's different, I actually like it. I like it either way. It's fun to compete for a job. I used to play soccer, so I've been competing my whole life. I had two older brothers who always chased me around, so it's good to be chased, but it is also good to do the chasing."

What would you say your range is?

Folk: "As for right now, 55, I'd say. That's a rough estimate. Some days it is longer, some it is shorter. It depends on how I feel and the wind. I'd say on a normal day with a good snap, hold and kick, about 55 yards."

CAT TRACKS' ANALYSIS: Folk has been a standout in camp. He missed just one field goal attempt in scrimmages and has been shown great leg strength. Having stability with a snapper and holder has also been a huge boost to the unit.

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