Justin Tucker Q&A

University of Texas kicker Justin Tucker delivered in the clutch, knocking in a 40-yard game-winning field goal to defeat archrival Texas A&M in what likely marks the last time the two teams will square off in this tradition-rich series with the Aggies leaving the Big 12 Conference. Tucker hit 17 of 21 field goals as a senior and 23 of 27 kicks as a junior.

He also served as the Longhorns' punter for four seasons, averaging 40.3 yards.

Scout caught up with Tucker recently for the following interview:

Scout: What does it take to make a pressure kick?

Tucker: "For me, it's a matter of repetition. I've seen myself make that kick 1,000 times and then some. I always end each workout with a simulated pressure situation field goal. I tell myself the score, time on the clock, timeouts or no timeouts. I run from the sideline and try to simulate everything as close to gameday as possible. For me, hitting that kick against Texas A&M was a chance for me to see my hard work and focus over a number of years come to fruition.

"When you kick that ball, 1,000 times in practice, it makes it easier to block out any distraction. Their fans are pretty dang loud. They register on the Richter scale. They sway back and forth before hte fourth quarter. They create a little movement on the seismograph. Being able to block out that stuff is the most important part of any field goal. You have to be able to visualize and have a very specific plan for each kick."

Scout: What's it like when you make the big kick?

Tucker: "It's pretty awesome being able to celebrate with my teammates after a win like that, a rivalry game with where we may not play them for a long time. To end it on a good note for the good guys, is probably one my proudest moments.

"It's pretty cool. I was in a small amount of classes, but when I walked into class Monday after I made the kick I got a couple high-fives and thanks. A lot of them were in the Longhorn band, so there were there for that game and they experienced how loud it was. They know how much Texas A&M hates us."

Scout: Who is your agent?

Tucker: "I'm being represented by Rob Roche of RSR Sports, Neil Rackers' guy. I'm a Neil Rackers fan."

Scout: "What do you hear about your chances with the NFL?" Tucker: "I think my chances in the NFL are really good. My body of work at Texas speaks for itself. My numbers have been consistent. I wasn't invited to the combine or any all-star games. I look at the number of guys in the league at my same position and how many of them went to the combine and didn't. In the grand scheme, what matters is how you do in camp."

Scout: What did you think of the AFC championship game where Billy Cundiff missed that big kick?

Tucker: "Watching something like that, it was a common theme in the later part of the college season where a lot of kickers were struggling in bowl games and BCS games. That's the nature of the beast, the duality of the position like a quarterback who throws an interception. You've got to forget about it and move on to the next one. The most important kick is the next one and the hardest one to make is the one after a miss."

Scout: When is your Pro Day?

Tucker: "My Pro Day is March 20 at Texas. The last few years it's been a really good turnout with all the teams represented. I'm looking forward to it."

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