Brendan Carney; Just a Regular Guy

Kickers have always been portrayed as the oddballs of the football world; just a little different than everybody else. And, Syracuse junior Brendan Carney is no exception.

"I try to consider myself just a normal person who plays football," Carney said. "It's hard for people to understand that sometimes. They automatically assume you're a cocky person because you're on the field and doing interviews in the papers."


            In today's sports world where "me" and "I" reign supreme, Carney is a breath of fresh air. The junior isn't pompous, even though he has every reason to be. Carney has made Second-Team All Big-East every year he's been at Syracuse, and is an All-America Candidate this year. At the time this article was published, Carney was leading the Big East in yards per punt, and it wasn't even close. West Virginia punter Phil Brady was averaging 7 yards less, a huge distance in punting.


            Carney has also emerged as a threat on kickoffs, booting the ball into the end zone almost every time.


            "I'm always working on kickoffs," Carney said. "I think every year I get a little bit better. Freshman year, I was at about five yards out. Last year I was at the goal line, and this year, I'm right where I want to be."


            "He's a weapon," Coach Greg Robinson said. "His kickoffs are all in the end zone, and his punting is outstanding,"


            So Carney definitely has the accolades to be cocky, but his humble nature won't allow it. Even though he is obviously Syracuse's best special teams player, he still finds it difficult to consider himself a leader.


            "I like to think that some guys on the team look up to me and if we're put in a tough situation, if I need to bail them out, they're confident that I can do that," Carney said. "But, I'm not very vocal, not as big and meaty as those guys, so it's a little tough to be looked at as a team leader."


Coach Robinson would probably disagree.


"He's a special player," Robinson said. "He brings a maturity in the way he prepares and his attitude, everything about him."


Carney has always been harder on himself than his coaches though. He earned Second-Team All-Big East honors his freshman year, but said he considered that season a disappointment.


            "I wasn't a good punter that year," Carney said. "My get-off time was slow. I like to think I get it off faster now. Every day I work on it, but that's why I've had 10 blocked punts in my career. It's tough to swallow."


            Carney said the Virginia Tech game his freshman year was the low point of his career. Former Hokie and current Atlanta Falcon cornerback DeAngelo Hall returned two punts for touchdowns in the game. Both punts had short hang times, and didn't allow Syracuse's coverage team to get to Hall in time.


"It was a real down time for me," Carney said. "I didn't really give our team a chance there. So that was tough to come back from, but I just had to battle it out."


            "You just have to forget it. It really got to me my first two years. I was really depressed, really disappointed. But, you just have to get over it. I've learned that from a lot of players and a lot of coaches."


Carney is still extremely critical of himself today. Most would say too much so. Only a junior, Carney is a legitimate NFL prospect with his punts averaging 45 yards a pop.


"I'd be lying if I said it wasn't in the back of my mind…I guess, it's something I'm afraid of," Carney said. "I've seen a lot of guys put all their eggs in one basket, and they have the talent, but it's so tough to get into that league. And, when they don't, they're just crushed. Everyone thinks because you can kick a ball 60 yards you're in, but they look at so many different things." 


Carney uses his fear not only to keep him motivated on the field, but also off of it.


"It's more out of fear than anything, but I'm counting on plan B more than I am on plan A (the NFL)," Carney said. "Even if I do make it, ten years down the road, whatever I do after that. I'm still going to have to get a job and be a regular person."


So what's plan B?


"I'm not sure," Carney said. "I'd like to stay in sports, maybe sports management. I have given thoughts to law school, but I don't know."


 Carney seems to be ok with not knowing exactly what it is he wants to do. Like most people, he doesn't have it all figured out yet. And, although his qualities on and off the football field suggest he's nothing like most people, that's how he sees himself.


"I try and look at it like I'm a regular guy, who deserves the exact same thing as the next guy. I'm just like everybody else."


Cuse Nation Top Stories