A conversation with Mike Nugent

Q)What about acclimating yourself to kicking in the Meadowlands. That has to be tough because you guys don't practice there.

Nugent: I don't know how they do it, but hopefully I can get over there and kick some. That is how I like to do it. I like to get as close to game situations as possible, that is the best.

Q)Is the awe factor gone now a few months after being drafted and with a minicamp under your belt, and now you realize it's a job you have to do?

Nugent: I look at it as something I love to do. I love going to practice every day.

Q)You came into Ohio State as a highly-recruited kicker, but you struggled as a freshman, and people probably wondered about you. Then you turned it around after that year, became one of the best kickers in college history. How did you turn it around?

Nugent: I was brought to Ohio State to do one job, and I wasn't doing it. I tried to focus as much as I could. I talked to people who had been in my situation before, and took a lot from that. I worked as much as possible to get things going. I started to get things going the spring after my first year, and it took off from there.

Q)As far dealing with pressure, did kicking in front of 100,000 at home, and at some road games in the Big Ten, help prepare you for the next level?

Nugent: I think it does. The experiences I had at Ohio State were unbelievable. It was a good start to kick everything off. I have seen the tough weather and close situations, those experiences will help me (on the next level).

Q)Is an NFL ball different than the college ball?

Nugent: In the NFL they have the K-Ball. They don't let you do anything to it, like beat it up before the game. I just need to get a lot of practice kicking those balls.

Q)Aside from your talent as a field goal kicker, another reason why the Jets picked you was to improve their kickoffs. You were considered a great field goal kicker, but just a good kickoff guy. What is you assessment of your ability as a kickoff guy?

Nugent: That is one thing I have been focusing on recently. I've been trying to get a lot of practice kicking those [K-Balls] off. I did at first notice a difference. I'm trying to get used to it. I want to kick them as much as possible, so it doesn't feel like a huge difference when it does get to game situation.

Q)For a layman, what is the difference you notice?

Nugent: It's a brand new ball right out of the box, compared to an old beat-up one. It feels a little different going off your foot. It's not something you go out there and worry about. It's not an excuse if the ball doesn't go straight.

Q)Entering the draft, what was your mindset. Did you think you were going to be a Minnesota Viking?

Nugent: I really had no expectations. I wasn't sure what was going to happen.

Q)What are your thoughts on your college teammate Maurice Clarett going in the third round to Denver?

Nugent: What Denver saw in Maurice is the football player he can be and the potential he has. When he was healthy and on the field, he was a hard-worker. I think they see the potential he could have in the NFL.

The NFL will give him a chance to erase everything. He is starting over in a new place, with a new team, in a new situation, so I think it will give him an opportunity to start over forget everything in his past.

Q)You are replacing a guy in Doug Brien who made 51 of 61 regular season field goals over two years - not a bad record, then missed a couple field goals in Pittsburgh, a rough stadium for opposing kickers. What are your thoughts on Doug Brien? Do you have mixed emotions in replacing him?

Nugent: Not really. All I look at it as is a great opportunity.

Q)What is is like for a kicker getting used to a new long-snapper and holder?

Nugent: It is different working with new people. James Dearth spoils the Jets. He makes it so much easier. He gets the ball back everytime with the laces perfectly straight.

You just need to work with your holder a lot.

Q)How is Aussie Ben Graham acclimating himself to holding?

Nugent: It is different. He's a great athlete. The type of guy who just give him a task and he will do an amazing job. Holding is an very underestimated position. It's a very hard thing to do if you've never done it before. He's never done it before. The whole minicamp weekend he did a great job.

Q)Of the 22 records you set at Ohio State, which one are you most proud of?

Nugent: I would say the all-time scoring record.

Q)Are you getting acclimated to New York?

Nugent: I'm trying to, but I'm back home right now taking classes and trying to finish up school. Just trying to get that done right now.

Q)Are you any relation to singer Ted Nugent? Nugent: We are not related at all. I've seen him on television. He is good at what he does.

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