Q&A with Kicker Mike Allen

Mike Allen sat down with Badger Nation's Ronny Whitworth to discuss his recent success, hitting four consecutive field goals to start the Big Ten season.

Badger Nation: Having hit four field goals in a row right now, do you feel like you are getting into your groove?

Allen: Yeah, I feel like it but I know I have a lot more to work on because in practice, I'm not doing the greatest. I'm missing in practice and things like that. So in order to be good, I have to make all my kicks, practice and in games. Right now I made a couple in the games, but that doesn't mean much if I can't make them in practice too.

Badger Nation: Coach Brian Murphy said earlier in the year, there were certain aspects of your mechanics that you had to iron out, and that's why Scott Campbell temporarily displaced you at the position. What were some of those things you had to work on?

Allen: It's not really much. I mean mechanic-wise and things like that, you kind of learn that all on your own. Each kicker has their own style. Every kicker is different, so it's kind of hard if you're a special teams coach, for Coach Murphy to individually help each person. Because every single person is different, obviously. You can't teach them the same thing because it's not going to work for every person. Mechanically, you do work on it a little bit, just to stay sound so you make sure you are following through, keeping your eye on the ball, things like that. I was just trying to make sure that I do my own thing. Because I know personally as a kicker, that I can kick the ball through the uprights. It's not something hard to do. Scott (Campbell) knows he can do that, (Adam Espinoza) knows he can do that. You just have to prepare yourself, and each person prepares himself differently.

Badger Nation: What made the difference between a game like UNLV, when you missed three field goals, to Indiana, when you hit all three attempts? Both were road games. What made the difference for you?

Allen: It's a lot of different things. You can't just nail it down to one thing. UNLV, the first kick I kicked got blocked. That's kind of a mental thing. It gets in your head, like `Oh crap, I just started off horrible. Way to start off like that.' And then you let it get to you sometimes. Maybe I let it get to me that game, because I followed through with horrible kicks the rest of the game. Indiana, I got off to a pretty good start, and was able to keep my mind right the whole time. I believe the first kick is a huge part of it in the game. It may be one of the biggest kicks in the game, because if you can get off a great kick, you just know instantly, you have confidence in yourself that day. Because each day is different.

Badger Nation: I heard you say your relationship with Scott Campbell is a love/hate relationship. Is that so?

Allen: Yeah, oh, he's a great kid, he's incredible, he's so much fun. He's a great roommate, a great friend. But yet, we both kind of know I want him to miss so I can have the opportunity. But I also want him to make it so then he feels good, and I feel good for him if he makes it. I know he feels the same way too. So it's back-and-forth, but either way I'm going to be happy, if he does well or if he does bad. We're going to support each other either way.

Badger Nation: Do you try not to talk to him when he's about to attempt a kick, because he might be thinking you really don't want him to make it?

Allen: No, I let him do his own thing. He does his own thing. That can really mess with somebody. Any position, any player, to sit there right before the kick and talk to him and say, `Hey, do this, this and this.' Don't worry about that. Let them do their own thing. So that's what I try to do, and after the kick, I will tell him, `Scott, you are doing this, or you're doing that.' And he will come up to me as well. We're back-and-forth at each other all the time.

Badger Nation: How has Scott handled losing the job back to you?

Allen: Scott is a very mentally and physically strong kid. Either way, Scott's going to rebound. Scott knows what to do. He's an experienced kicker, with JUCO and everything like that. He knows what he's doing. I just hope I can keep the ball away from him, because that's my job, to keep it away from him. He's a great kicker, and mentally he's fine. He's going to do great. He can handle it no problem. I know he can.

Badger Nation: Is this as confident you've been since you arrived on campus, about your ability to get the job done?

Allen: I feel pretty good about myself, and about the team but we have a lot to work on. As confident as I've been? Sure, you could say that, but I know I still have a whole crapload of stuff to work on, a lot of stuff to work on before I'm going to be any good. Because right now I don't think I'm a good kicker at all. I don't. I have a lot of stuff to work on. I need to be consistent. I need to be able to make everything.

Badger Nation: When you say you don't think you're a good kicker, is that just because you've had some bad practices?

Allen: Yeah, you could say that. A good kicker is going to make everything, in practice and the games. I might be able to make them in the games. That's great, that's huge, that's the time to make them. But if you want to be a good kicker, you have be consistent all day, every day, in and out of practice. It's difficult but I'm working on it. It's a long process. I'm getting the hang of it more and more every day.

Badger Nation: Do you have any superstitions, like you won't walk off the field after a miss in practice?

Allen: I try to always end, after practice, you always end on a make. I think everybody does that. It's like when you walk off the basketball court, you're always going to end on a make. Superstitions? Not really. I had a couple in high school. Not really though. One thing is, I do a handshake with my holder, Matt Katula. We have a special handshake, that's about it. If it's a good one, we'll give each other a handshake. This last game and Penn State, we did it.

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