Rookie Q&A: K Nick Folk

IRVING, Tex. - When the Cowboys took ex-University of Arizona kicker Nick Folk in the sixth round of the 2007 NFL Draft, it definitely turned some heads.

After all, that marked the first time in the Jerry Jones era that Dallas had taken a kicker and was the first time since 1987, when they took former Texas kicker Jeff Ward in the 11th round, that America's Team had seen fit to take a kicker.

What does all of this mean?

Well, it's still a bit too early to tell but incumbent kicker Martin Gramatica looks to have some competition heading into training camp.

The Ranch Report caught up with him after an organized team activity and here's what he had to say:

The Ranch Report: Given the Cowboys' history of not drafting kickers, how shocked were you that you ended up here?
Folk: At the beginning, yes (I was shocked). My agent and I had sat down and made a list of teams that needed kickers. We came up with six teams that we thought needed kickers and Dallas was one of them. They struggled a bit last year and then Martin (Gramatica) came in and solidified them at the end of the year. So, I thought they might go that way. I got the call and was excited on draft day. It was a good and happy day. I had fun with it. Being from L.A., I wasn't a big Cowboy fan growing up. But the day they drafted me, I became a huge Cowboy fan.

The Ranch Report: What are your thoughts on competing with Gramatica?
Folk: Competition is always competition. It's always good to have that. Hopefully it brings out the best in you. Everywhere I have been, there has been competition from high school all the way up to college. It's always brought out the best in me. Hopefully, it does again. He's a great guy and great kicker. Hopefully I will learn a few things from him, compete against him and the best man will win.

The Ranch Report: What has been the biggest adjustment to the NFL so far?
Folk: Just getting used to the NFL style (has been the biggest adjustment for me). Moving back to the 30-yardline for kickoffs is also a bit of an adjustment. The different ball is another thing I had to get used to. Kicking is kicking and that's really it.

The Ranch Report: How has working with Coach Phillips been so far?
Folk: He's a great guy. His personality is a lot different than my college coach, Coach (Mike) Stoops). He has a different personality and a different demeanor and I like it. It's a different place and a different environment. It's been nice to far. Guys here seem to have a lot of fun. That's the biggest thing. We have a lot of fun in the locker room and also out on the field. Talking to some of the guys from last year like L.P. (Ladouceur), Matt (McBriar) and Martin (Gramatica), they said that it was hard to be out there last year. Everybody had to be quiet and nobody could say anything. Now everyone is out there yelling, screaming and having a good time. The team seems real upbeat. We still have a few months until training camp starts. So, it's good to have this much enthusiasm right now.

The Ranch Report: What are your expectations for this year?
Folk: I really haven't thought about it too much. I'm just trying to go out there, do my best and compete. They brought me in here for a reason and we'll see.

The Ranch Report: Nick, is the hardest thing about being a kicker having to shake off a bad performance so quickly?
Folk: That's the big thing. You have more pressure on you than anyone else in those last few seconds of a game. Everyone expects you do to your job perfectly every time you go out there and kick. You might have 30 plays a year as a field goal kicker. Other than that, everyone else has 30 plus plays a game. That's the toughest part-just going out there and being focused for that one play and doing your job.

The Ranch Report: Have you been subject to any rookie hazing yet?
Folk: Not really. I have had to bring balls in from practice and things like that. They said the youngest guys have to do that. So, another rookie and I divided that up and we bring the balls in after every workout.

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