On the Record: Mark Buchholz

CLEMSON - Mark Buccholz isn't your typical kicker. In fact, he's far from it. CUTigers.com checks in with the soccer standout turned football player in the latest edition of On the Record.

After Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden decided to award Buchholz a scholarship earlier this year, the 6-1, 205 pound placekicker has been nearly perfect through preseason camp.

In the final scrimmage before Monday's game against No. 19 Florida State in Death Valley, Buchholz was perfect, including drilling a 57-yarder.

Also a starting midfielder for Trevor Adair's soccer team and an All-ACC Academic performer, Buchholz has practiced as many as four times a day for both sports during this past month. In fact, he will play in a soccer match against archrival South Carolina on Friday, Aug. 31 and again on Sunday, Sept. 2, the day before making his debut on the football field against Florida State.

CUTigers.com caught up with Buchholz this week to get his thoughts on a number of topics:

Mark obviously you have a lot going on playing two sports ... football and soccer. How are you making sure you don't get too tired with so many practices and games so close to each other?
Buccholz: Just do the right things off the field. Stay hydrated and eat the right foods so my body can rehabilitate more quickly. As far as my legs, they feel pretty good. The coaches have done a pretty good job of not knocking my body down too much with conditioning, especially on Trevor's side with soccer. We still did a good bit of conditioning, just not too much. I feel like my legs are ready and am just excited about the season.

"I made a 57-yarder in a scrimmage last week in Death Valley. I feel like I can go back to 60. I have to hit it well of course. But even if I don't hit it solid I feel like I can go back to 50."
Talk some about your range with field goals and do you expect to handle kickoffs against Florida State?
Buccholz: My range is ... I made a 57-yarder in a scrimmage last week in Death Valley. I feel like I can go back to 60. I have to hit it well of course. But even if I don't hit it solid I feel like I can go back to 50. As far as kickoffs go, last night I hit a kickoff to the 1-yard line with a four second hang time. If I can do that, I'd be happy. Inside the five with over a three second hang time is pretty good. I feel pretty confident.

We saw Jad Dean struggle down the stretch last season after three solid years at Clemson and it seemed like a lot of that could be mental. How do you approach the mental side of the game?
Buccholz: Mentally I approach it like I do any other sport. Whether it's basketball or baseball. You know, I go to the rec center all the time and play basketball. I just try to enjoy myself. It's going to be a little different with 80,000 people at my back. But since I was little I've dreamed of this. You put yourself in situations, like on the basketball court being Michael Jordan at the NBA Finals. I've done it since I was little and now it's actually come true against this many people and I'm really excited about it and hoping to have some fun with it.

What's it going to be like for you playing in front of those 80,000 people Monday night against Florida State?
Buccholz: It's going to be exciting. It's always exciting when you run out to a sold out place. We did that against South Carolina last year in soccer when we had 10,000 fans out there. That's what I've worked for my whole life was to be a soccer player. Just recently has football come up. I probably get more nervous playing soccer. The football side is just fun. I remember watching Florida State-Miami games when I was younger and seeing the Seminole come out and I'm like- wow. It's just going to be cool. It's like I'm in a video game or something. I'm just going to have fun with it.

Two seconds left on the clock, down by two points Monday against Florida State and you are called on the field to kick a 37-yard field goal. What are you thinking right before you kick that football?
Buccholz: I'll probably be thinking about the scrimmage last week when I was put in that exact same situation with the team all yelling around me. Yelling things at me, trying to put as much pressure on me as possible. I'll probably think back to that, have a laugh, go through my routine, the same thing I do every time and try to put it through the uprights.

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