Gary Wunderlich, the Rebels' junior placekicker, seems like the quiet sort and even admits he likes the solidarity of being a placekicker.
"We do all our team work at the beginning of practice and then we go off by ourselves (kickers, punters, snappers, holders) to work on stuff individually," said Wunderlich. "I like working on individual stuff on my own. The coaches give me pointers on things I may have done incorrectly during team drills and then I go off and work on those things with the other specialists or by myself. I like that part of it."
So far, Wunderlich is 13-14 in field goals and 31-33 in extra points. He has also done spot duty punting and has fared well there as well.
"I'm pretty confident in what I am doing right now. I think it's because of the experience on this level and that I've been doing it so long," said the soft-spoken Wunderlich. "This is my third year of doing this here so I should be more and more comfortable."
His routine is simple during a game.
"I just try to stay focused. A lot of it is mental. You have to be ready when your number is called and stay in the moment," he declared. 'It starts in practice with a solid routine and you just carry that over to the games. I am able, now, to block out crowds and just do my job. I have confidence in that."
Wunderlich says he still gets a thrill every time he makes a kick.
"Some kickers I know say it's a relief to make a kick, but for me it's a thrill," Gary noted.
Wunderlich says he could not be where he is today without a solid snapper/holder battery, which this year is P Will Gleeson holding and Will Few snapping.
"Few has been doing a great job for a couple of years and Gleeson's done a great job this year as well. We've got a good operation going," he continued. "It is very important if the snap is not where it is supposed to be and the hold is not in the right spot. It has to be pretty precise, within a couple of inches or usually you will miss the kick. I don't think a lot of people recognize that, but I do and I appreciate their work. Without them, the whole thing falls apart."
Wunderlich had a 49-yarder against Auburn and said he "hit it pretty good," but he believes his range is "55-57 yards."
"I missed one field goal from 54 yards this year that I should have made," he assessed. "I have been good in practice up to 55-57 yards, but with game balls, you may have to back that down some to, say, 52-54 yards."
Gary has never faced a game-winning kick situation, but he relishes the moment when it might come.
"I would treat it like any bother kick, like a practice kick," he said confidently. "I believe all kicks are created equal and they are all the same. You just keep your head down, stay focused and do your job. I'm confident I could come through."
On punting, he says it's all situational as to when and where he gets his chances, so, again, he has to stay in the game and in the moment.
"It's all about where we are on the field, what hash mark we are on and the coaches let me or Will know," Gary noted. "I like punting too, so I'm confident in that part as well."
Asked how he would grade his year thus far, Wunderlich thought for a moment.
"Probably a 'B." That missed PAT hurts, that can't happen, and, as I said, I should have made that 54-yarder, so probably a 'B' would be the grade I'd give myself," he closed.
The Rebels have not been very consistent in many phases of the game this year, but Gary Wunderlich has.
He's all grown up and confident and that's the ticket to his success.