Audio file 1 (3:51) -
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What did [Kevin Stemke] have to say [when you met him in Chapel Hill]?
"He just talked about golfing a little bit. He complimented me and that was nice to hear. Other than that, I just asked what he was doing and he told me and that's about it."
Was it during the game that you met him for the first time, or was it before?
"Well, I had talked to John Chadima the day before. And he's friends with Kevin, they still keep in touch. He told me that Kevin was living in North Carolina and that he'd be at the game. John came up to me actually towards the end of the game and pointed Kevin out to me on the sideline. I had seen him earlier but I didn't get a chance to say hi to him. I wanted to stay into the game. Once the opportunity arose towards the end of the game and after the game I went over and talked to him."
Is it strange your paths had never crossed before?
"It is… I thought maybe at one point, since we're both from the same area that I would have seen him before this. I've seen him around here. I've just never really got the chance to talk to him."
No disrespect but oftentimes kickers or punters, some players don't accept them as part of the team… Do you truly feel that you are an important part of this team?
"Yeah, I really think so because if you look at the stats, my name's on the rushing yards now, cause of the safety that I took."
You've got to work on that average though.
"Other than that, yeah, I really think so. I think the program that we have going here, the weightlifting and conditioning and strength program that Coach Dettmann runs, the kickers and punters do everything the same as the rest of the team. There's no exceptions. We do all the same lifts, all the same conditioning. Even though it's not going to exactly carry over onto the field for us. It's good being there with the rest of the team, working hard, and doing everything the same as they are to reach our goals."
Punting like you've been punting and pinning teams down deep in their territory, you'll be accepted with open arms right?
"I hope so. I hope so."
Was that your best game?
"I think it's one of my best games. I think, I can't remember last year which, I think I had a good game at Purdue and a good game at the Outback Bowl, but I think overall that when you talk about punts inside the 20 and we did a lot of directional punting this game, which is a little more difficult. But I think overall, being backed up, we were in all the situations. We were backed up, we were in a pooch situation we were in the middle of the field. So I think overall that was probably my best all around game."
What was the biggest punt you think you hit?
"I think the biggest punt was the one where we were backed up in the end zone and I don't know how far it went. I don't remember how far. But I think them having us backed up… North Carolina maybe thought that they'd have a little momentum swing, they'd be on our side of the 50. But to be able to get them pinned back on their side of the 50 is a big deal. So I think that was my best punt."
Audio file 2 (2:45) -
On leading the Big Ten in punting:
"It means that I'm doing my job. It means, I guess, punting you really have to look at the stats, and if my stats are doing well, I guess I'm doing well for the team. So I hope I can stay on top in that respect."
You were so good at pinning them inside the 20 last year I think people maybe overlooked your leg strength. Did that happen at all…?
"I think they could have because last year that was a focus on pinning punts inside the 20 and… I think maybe now people realize that… I have more than just that."
What was the No. 1 thing that you wanted to work on going into this year?
"Consistency… One of my goals was to not have that one punt during the game, that one shank. If I hit a ball off the side of my foot. Just that one mistake punt. I wanted to get rid of that and I think I'm on the way to doing that."
Have you had any through three games?
"Not that I can think of."
That safety, how much do you practice that type of play?
"We actually practice that every Thursday. So it wasn't surprising that we used it. It was just, I don't think there's a lot of opportunities where that, that present themselves for us to use that play. Coach Murphy was actually pretty excited that the play that we practice every week was used."
Did you execute it flawlessly, as far as you can see?
"Well, a lot of the defensive guys have been heckling me because that put two more points on the board. And they asked me why I didn't throw it. And I told them looking back I could have, but that's not what we practiced. But other than that the play went fine and everything worked out okay."