Most Recent Posts
- Video: Larry hears cowbells, makes a chocolate cow and soaks up the culture in Switzerland
- Video: UK offensive coordinator Neal Brown talks about recruiting the home state of Kentucky
- What role did Drew Barker’s mother play in his athletic development?
- Calipari will be keynote speaker at Iba Awards June 3 in Tulsa
- D.J. Eliot understands coach Mark Stoops “very well” can bring new ideas to UK defense
- Swiss Cat Part 2: Larry continues his adventure in Switzerland
- Brumbaugh understands junior college talent, feels he can bring JUCO players to UK
- Volleyball training, personality will both help Marcus Lee at Kentucky
By LARRY VAUGHT
One freshman expected to make a big impact at Kentucky this season is kicker Joe Mansour of LaGrange, Ga.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He has a live, live leg,Ã¢â‚¬Â said special teams coach Greg Nord. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We still have to get a few things straightened out on his timing kicking field goals, but he has a live leg and will be a very good kicker for us,.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“They all have trouble with their accuracy at this time of year when you are kicking as much as we are. There is a fine line between too many and not enough kicks. But he could eventually be pretty special.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Mansour offered these observations on how practice has gone for him and what might lie ahead this year:
Question: How has practice been?
Mansour: Ã¢â‚¬Å“It has been pretty good. Every day I am getting more comfortable with the live snapping and live holding. I am just feeling better.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Question: How hard is it to deal with the big expectations on you?
Mansour: Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think about that every day. The expectations in the newspaper and the Internet that are put on me is out there. The biggest thing I have to do is just concentrate on being myself and being me. If I just concentrate and do me, it shouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t matter what the expectations are.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Question: What is Ã¢â‚¬Ëœjust being meÃ¢â‚¬â„¢?
Mansour: Ã¢â‚¬Å“I guess just staying in a little zone like (actor) Happy Gilmore does when he makes a good shot. That is the kind of zone I get in when I run out on the field and make a kick.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Question: Have you always had a strong leg?
Mansour: Ã¢â‚¬Å“I played soccer and acquired that skill of kicking the ball pretty far and hard. When I was 9 or 10, I kicked one from half-court and it went in over the goalieÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s head, so I have had a strong leg from the beginning.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Question: How do you get on the football team?
Mansour: Ã¢â‚¬Å“In middle school I tried kicking and I actually was pretty good at it. In high school, it was either play soccer or baseball because both were in the spring. I was good at baseball, so I quit soccer and just played basketball, baseball and football.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Question: Are you a better kickoff guy, punter or field goal kicker?
Mansour: Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am asked this question a lot. For kickoff, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just natural. Just come to the ball and kick it as hard as you can. Punting and field goals are probably the same, but I am better at field goals because I know exactly what to do. When I miss it, I know exactly what I did. Punt is the same way, but Ryan (Tydlacka) is here, so I have not been punting as much as I would if I was the starter.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Question: How often do you expect to put a kickoff in the end zone?
Mansour: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Today I did six kickoffs and a couple went to the goal line, a couple were 6 or 7 yards deep (in the end zone) and one went out of the end zone. I expect to put ball in the end zone if the wind is not in my face.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Question: How far out do you still feel you are extremely accurate on field goals?
Mansour: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Distance is not a problem. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s more getting comfortable and putting them through. If I keep good technique, I can put them through (the goal posts) from anywhere. If coach Phillips thinks I am able to kick a 60-yarder, then I think I can kick a 60-yarder.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Question: Do youÃ‚Â have that swagger that coach Phillips says?
Mansour: Ã¢â‚¬Å“That is just me being me, and I am always going to be me. A kicker has to have confidence. You have to believe you can make it with 70,000 watching and more seeing you on TV. I want to be the guy out there kicking. There is pressure everywhere. Once I get that first kick out of the way, I will be good.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Question: Is there any pressure when you are kicking off?
Mansour: Ã¢â‚¬Å“There is pressure if you are kicking left to make sure you kick it left. But thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not really an issue if you just keep your head down and get up there and kick. I am pretty consistent on kickoffs. I just put it in the end zone.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Question: If you can put the ball in the end zone, why would a coach worry if you kick left, right or straight?
Mansour: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Just in case the wind is in my face and I get it higher and it doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t go in the end zone.Ã¢â‚¬Â