Dennis Fithian: Garret Rivas joins us here on AM 1050. Garrett, how are you?
Garrett Rivas: Good. How are you?
DF: Fantastic! And congratulations on signing your letter of intent today.
GR: Thank you.
DF: Garrett, we've got lots to talk about with you. That was the head coach right there, Lloyd Carr (they played an excerpt from Lloyd's PC), you're familiar with him and he talked about – if we continued that on – you know about former Michigan kicker, Jay Feely. Was that your first connection in thinking about the Maize and Blue?
GR: He and I…he taught me my freshman and sophomore years. He kind of, like, developed me into being a kicker and everything because I was originally a wide receiver. And then we became good friends and when he went to the pros we just continued to talk on the phone about once or twice a week and we just became good friends and, in the middle of my junior year I was talking to him and he was, like, listen, when you begin to start getting recruited, I have no effect on your decision even if Michigan recruits you or not. Because, at that time, I wasn't being recruited and he's like, I'm not going to have any impact on your decision. So he continued on like that and I remember calling him the day I got my first Michigan letter and telling him, oh, I got a letter from your school. And he was like, oh, that's great – you know, he didn't want to say anything either way to lead me. But he's – I talked to him yesterday – he's feeling pretty good that I'm following in his footsteps.
DF: Garrett Rivas – you put 60 of your 65 kicks there in the end zone this year and you hit all of your field goals inside the 50, so that's impressive right there. And you, you can correct me and we expect you to do that if I'm wrong, but you came up and you were at the Washington game? Michigan/Washington?
DF: What a wild game for a guy who wants to be a kicker at the next level! What were you thinking when that game was going on? Did you feel bad for those guys going out there? Of course, it ended beautifully for Michigan with Phil Brabbs nailing that kick, but up to that point, you had to feel for them.
GR: I met them this summer and I was up in Atlanta with them kicking with Jay and we…I knew them before that day and I felt bad for them on a personal level just because I know what it's like to miss a kick here and there and I felt bad for them. But I looked over at my dad when he set up for that last kick and I just kind of knew that he was going to hit it. I actually looked over my dad like he's got it! I just had the feeling and it was great to see him hit that kick – that was a big kick!
DF: Now you're playing wide receiver and you've gotta have good hands for that. Did you play soccer so you always had the strong leg, so you figured you'd give that a go? Take us through that.
GR: I played soccer for eight years on premier teams and travel teams and everything and then my freshman year I was still playing wide receiver and then a couple of weeks into practice Jay Feely was like, if anyone who has played soccer and would like to kick, stay after. And I just stayed after and I was hitting pretty decent ones and he came over and he was like, look, you're going to be our guy this year – I'd like to work with you, you know, develop you a little bit better. So I worked with him for two years, pretty much and he just taught me the basics and then we got into the deeper fundamentals. But he's the one who developed me at the beginning.
DF: Garrett, your long field goal this year was 48 yards. Is that your career long?
GR: Yes, sir.
DF: What about when you're just kicking without game action? How far have you put one through?
GR: The pre-game practice we have before a game we get the whole team lined up and I hit one 65 yards. I had a pretty steady wind at my back, actually.
DF: Well, there's a lot of wind up here in Ann Arbor, especially at the Big House. People already got a good look at you – you played in the Army All-Star game that was on ESPN, you met a number of your Michigan teammates there. Can you talk about that experience playing on TV, playing with a lot of the guys? It was like pretty much a Michigan Football game down there.
GR: Yeah. I had never been on national TV. We have local TV down here where I got on a couple of times. A couple of our games were on TV, but to play on national TV was an honor and everything and it kind of (prepares) us for what's coming next year because Michigan is pretty much on national TV every week, so it's just getting me ready and preparing me. And, as far as playing with everybody, I'm going a long way up to Michigan and to go up there knowing a few guys isn't going to hurt at all.
DF: Did you slip that Michigan hat there in Prescott Burgess' bag at half-time? Were you watching that or were you in the locker room? Did you see what was going on there?
GR: With Prescott? I was on the other side of the sidelines just warming up and kicking and everything, but I had talked to him a couple of days before and he had told me that he was definetly going to Michigan and everything. But as far as getting along with the players…there was no secret or anything, but I was happy. He's a great athlete and a great player.
DF: Well, we should have called you up. We could have broke that story a couple days before. But you wouldn't have told us, right? Hey, what did you think, Garrett, about – we have to ask you this – you know, the big story in the NFL. You're, of course, a kicker, with Mike Vanderjagt pretty much calling out Peyton Manning. What did you think about that whole story? Did you think Mike Vanderjagt was giving kickers a bad name?
GR: (laughs) I actually haven't heard about it.
DF: Well, we'll just keep it there. That's alright. That's probably the best way to do it. He just called out his quarterback and it's probably not the best way to do things. But, hey, if you didn't hear about it, you can't comment on it. Hey, I want to congratulate you and thanks a lot for joining us up here. Who's your – besides Jay Feely – your favorite kicker of all time?
GR: I would probably have to go with Gary Anderson when he was back in his prime and he had, I think, like 36 straight field goals in a row without missing. Consistency is what we look for.
DF: I think he's still kicking.
GR: Yeah. I don't know if he's still as good as he was back in the day.
DF: Yeah, well, you know after you've been kicking for thirty years, you tend to lose a little bit I think. Alright, Garrett, congratulations and we look forward to seeing you up here kicking them through the uprights at Michigan.
GR: Alright. Thank you.
Garrett Rivas' Full WTKA Interview Transcript
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