Pete Barrows

Sports Journalist — Pete.Barrows12@gmail.com

Archive for November 2014

DiIanni turns page, finds success at Iowa

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Dave DiIanni and Jeff Hosler add new chapters to the same book – winning soccerGVL / Eric Coulter Head Coach Dave DiIanni and the rest of the team


Pete Barrows
Featurist

 

There are those that, in the instant they strike in the last period on the final page of a grand work – a thesis, for example, or a paper written in haste the night before the deadline – wash their hands from the keyboard and immediately push away from their desk.

These people are generally known as students.

There are others who are not so easily satiated. That sit down to toil and write until they bleed, and view the final page a bit differently. Not as an end, but as a beginning. And when they’ve reached it, they turn the page to start anew.

We call them authors.

Both groups have been known to pen masterpieces, but it’s the latter group that is typified by those that grace work after work with a Midas touch. It’s the latter group where former Grand Valley State women’s soccer coach Dave Dilanni belongs.

“Eventually you want to have tradition, a culture of success breading success, but to do that, you have to start on page one,” Dilanni said. “It’s a process.”

Many fledgling authors are instructed to start by writing what they know, and what Dilanni knows is soccer and winning. What he knows, he knows well.

So, after a successful seven-year stint as head coach of the Jackson Lumen Christi High School women’s soccer team, and three years as an assistant at Hillsdale College, Dilanni made his collegiate head coach debut at Division II GVSU back in 2003, and embarked upon penning a decade-long ‘New York Times Best Seller’ tenure.

“There have always been wonderful people that are passionate about the team and the school and the program everywhere I’ve gone,” Dilanni said. “With that support – and I’m grateful to have had it – the expectation is always to win, and that’s something I think about every day I’ve been on the job.”

DiIanni coached 21 All-Americans and accrued a 221-18-18 record during the 11-year span at GVSU. His .895 winning percentage is the highest of any coach in any sport in the Division II ranks, and the third-highest amongst all coaches in any division.

He collected nine consecutive GLIAC titles, 11-straight NCAA Tournament berths, seven Final Four appearances in the last eight seasons and three NCAA Division II national championships – including one in 2013, his final season at the helm.

A title – a third in five seasons – gleaned from a season that led with the second-longest shutout streak in Division II history, and saw the Lakers score the second-most goals in program history (88), while also matching a program-high 21 shutouts.

Bolstered by five All-Americans, the 2013 team finished 24-0-1, tying the mark for most single-season victories in school history, and claimed both GLIAC regular season and tournament titles. For his efforts, DiIanni was named the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Coach of the Year for a third time, and atop the peak, recognized the time to mark an ending was near.

It was time for a new project and, on May 17, the page turned. Dilanni was hired on as the fifth head coach in the University of Iowa women’s soccer history, and had made the move to Iowa City by June 1.

“I think my family and I will always have a soft place in our hearts for GVSU, but I was excited to challenge myself professionally by becoming the head coach of Iowa,” DiIanni said. “The memories stay and hopefully the successes will too, but the right kind of change can be good.”

Few have received more acclaim for their debuts than DiIanni did in 2003 when he directed the GVSU women’s soccer program to a then-school best record of 17-2-2 and its first-ever NCAA Tournament berth, but both he and successor at GVSU, Jeff Hosler, have given their inaugural seasons with new teams their best go.

Despite jumping up a division, taking over without the benefit of spring play and losing five different players to ACL injuries suffered throughout the season, DiIanni helped escort Iowa to a 14-7-1 (7-6-1 in the Big 10) record after losing to Wisconsin 1-0 in double-overtime in the championship game of the 2014 Big 10 Tournament.

“The transition has been a whirlwind, but considering some of the adversity we were faced with, I was really very happy with how the season ended up,” DiIanni said. “The level of talent across the board in the Big 10 is so high, and the margin for error so low that this past season, about 80 percent of games played inter-conference were decided by a goal or ended in a tie.

“That’s completely different than what we were used to at GVSU. It’s less about the technical ability of the players than it is about the tactical skills on this level, and I’ve had to adjust in some ways.”

Despite jumping up a division, and deep cleats to fill, Hosler has also adjusted amicably. His 19-2-1 record (10-1-1 GLIAC) and .886 win percentage fall perhaps a notch shy of the bar DiIanni set, although you wouldn’t notice from a glance.

Hosler – younger and slightly more offensively inclined than DiIanni – will continue to write his story his own way in his own voice, although the arch he’s outlined so far closely resembles his predecessor’s story that he was bequeathed to continue.

“Tim Selgo is one of the best athletic directors in the business because he knows what he’s looking for and then goes out and gets it,” DiIanni said. “I’ve always had respect for Jeff as a peer and it’s exciting to see the success he’s had already at GVSU.

“I know both Jeff and the girls in the program had massive expectations for the season, most of which were self-imposed, and I’m so proud of the job that they’ve done. I don’t always get to follow them on as much as I’d like with how busy I’ve been, but I always keep one eye on them from Iowa City.

GVSU will continue its season with a match Friday against No. 3 Wisconsin-Parkside with a spot in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament on the line. Anything less than a championship might be seen as a disappointment.

DiIanni will have to wait until next year to chase a championship, and will have to do while combatting more adversity – Iowa graduates nine seniors from the team after this year – but understands that as daunting as a blank page can be, fresh starts also allow for new opportunities.

It took DiIanni three seasons to win his first conference championship at GVSU, and, like writing a work worth reading, building a soccer program takes time. For both he and Hosler, there are plenty of blank pages ahead left to fill.

Keep reading.

“It’s a process,” DiIanni said. “That’s the only way I can put it. I did this at GVSU, Jeff did it at Alma, and well as you and the players do, you don’t create a winning culture or a sustainable program overnight.

“It takes many days of consistent effort over many years, a certain work ethic consistently applied, but I’ve never been afraid of hard work. I’m sure that’s true of Jeff, too.”

pbarrows@lanthorn.com

To read the original post “DiIanni turns page, finds success at Iowa”, click here at the Lanthorn online.

Written by peterdbarrows

November 20, 2014 at 9:10 pm

Crandall transitions from player to coach

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The GVSU coaching tree rooted under Janel Burgess has a new blossom, and her name is Dani CrandallGVL / Robert MathewsJunior Dani Crandall


Pete Barrows
FeaturistThe Earth makes its rounds day after day as though it was a basketball spun on a finger in the sky, and from the planetary to the molecular, life, like basketball, is constant motion.

Through the movement, change is inevitable. That’s just the way it is. It’s also occasionally welcome, as it was for recent Grand Valley State alumna Dani Crandall.

Six months ago, Crandall laced up her sneakers one final time as a player on the Laker women’s basketball team. Although unforeseen at the time, her service to the program wasn’t over.

Not yet.

At the conclusion of an internship with current Laker women’s basketball strength and conditioning coach, Joe Poferri, Crandall considered her options and campaigned to Burgess to extend her time at GVSU.

“I presented the idea of me being a graduate assistant to her in the spring, and I pitched that I could help,” Crandall said. “I know the system, the program, the traditions, the staff and the girls all really well, and told her that I was interested in being a strength coach.

“I then pointed out that if she was going to continue to use Joe (Poferri), that it would be a great outlet for me to continue to work with the team since I know his system and his exercises, too.”

It was a successful pitch.

So, after being tabbed to the All-GLIAC First Team and leaving her mark on both GVSU and the GLIAC, Crandall took a degree in exercise science and her astute basketball acumen, and traded in her sneakers for a whistle.

It’s been a smoother transition so far than many might have anticipated for Crandall — the freshly removed senior captain of the team she now coaches.

“People ask me all the time if it’s hard not playing and still being around it or if I miss playing, and the truth is that I don’t,” Crandall said. “It’s weird. I miss lacing up because it’s been a part of me for four years, but at the same time, I haven’t been removed long enough to miss it that bad.

“Maybe that’s a good thing, maybe it’s a bad thing, but right now, I really enjoy my role being a coach and a mentor to the girls while being there for the coaches also.”

Both the players and coaches she now works with have enjoyed working with coach Crandall too, albeit the dynamic of the relationship has changed.

Crandall can no longer bail the team out with her play as she did when she netted a career-high 36 points (tied for the sixth-highest scoring output in GVSU history) in an overtime victory over Northwood University back on Feb. 15 of last year. Nor can she associate with the same players she so recently called teammates in quite the same way as she once did.

“I guess I don’t really know what the team is like away from basketball anymore,” Crandall said. “We were always close and loved to hang out with each other, but I don’t necessarily know what that’s like currently since I had to remove myself from that scene as a coach.

“I do still think the team is getting along great, though. They play well, they’re enjoying the process and speaking from what I’ve seen at practices and games, if the chemistry isn’t better than it was last year, it’s just as good.”

What she can do is jump back onto to the court to model drills she’s executed for years, and is more familiar with than the back of her hand. She’ll even periodically lace up as a body on the scout team, and when the need arises, demonstrates with a swish of the net or a subtle crossover that it’s her role — not her game — that has changed.

She can also share her years of experience as well as insights gleaned on and off the court with both her players and the coaches she works with. And all of what she can do, she does well.

“The rapport between Dani and I has always been strong, but it’s especially unique now,” Burgess said. “There had to be an immediate trust in terms of philosophy, interest level and passion for the program for me to have brought her on staff, and it’s all there. It takes a lot of trust from myself to know that she’s mature, and ready to embark on that challenge, and she has done a tremendous job with everything we have tasked her with.

“I think it’s easy to forget how hard it can be to deprogram yourself from being a athlete, but I lean on Dani to give me insight and to remind me what it’s like to be a player. What did you think as a player? What can we change? She can look at it with such a fresh coaching perspective not far removed from being a player, and that’s invaluable.

“I also lean on Dani to set a tone, and the kids are able to respect her because everything she did here at GVSU, she did it so well and they saw her do it. We’re very fortunate to still have Dani in the program, and she’s having a real and positive impact on our kids.”

Where Crandall left off on the court last year – with a 14-12 record (12-10 GLIAC), just out of range of a spot in the GLIAC tournament – seniors Kat LaPrairie and Meryl Cripe will pick right back up, leading an assorted cast of now-sophomore and junior returners like Piper Tucker, Kayla Dawson, Taylor Lutz and Bailey Cairnduff as Crandall had before them.

What’s next for Crandall, the recent graduate who has aspirations of becoming a strength and conditioning coach someday, and would like to have an opportunity to travel, not the coach, is as uncertain as how the 2014-15 rendition of GVSU basketball’s season will unfold.

Although through all the unbeknownst and all the changes, the core goal for the season remains the same as it always has: to win a national championship, GVSU’s first since 2005-06.

It’s a lofty goal to be sure, but as much as things change, they stay the same. It’s unlikely anyone will rise from this year’s team to replace Crandall’s contributions verbatim. They don’t have to. But as Crandall has passed down and a maintained a proud tradition, those that come next will be tasked with doing the same.

As the days continue to spin and Crandall’s story has come full circle, the ball, so to speak, is in a talented team’s court.

“I hope for only the best for this team,” Crandall said. “That’s another reason why I wanted to stay around; to be a part of and to continue to help this program try to get what we’ve been working for as long as I can remember.

“That’s a championship, and that goal starts in the regular season, goes into the GLIAC Tournament and then goes on from there. We aspire to be the best GVSU basketball team to come through the program, and even though it’s anyone’s guess what the future holds, that’s not a bad place to be.”

sports@lanthorn.com

To read the original post “Crandall transitions from player to coach”, click here at the Lanthorn online.

Written by peterdbarrows

November 13, 2014 at 9:04 pm

Touchbacks: Q&A with GVSU’s specialists

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GVL / Emily Frye Senior Place Kicker Marco Iaderosa (#53)


Pete Barrows
Featurist

A few years late, and a third of a yard short, the Lanthorn finally gets around to kicking it with fifth-year senior legs for hire – Marco Iaderosa and Chris Picano – as they dish about life, love, burritos and what it takes to be a specialist on the Grand Valley State University football team.

Iaderosa and Picano knew in their hearts that, one day, adoring fans and student peers alike would clamor to know everything about their most beloved special team specialists, and a feature article would be written in their homage – a detailed piece delving into the inner mind and process of a collegiate kicker.

Since their redshirt season together at GVSU back in 2010, they have done plenty to secure their place in Laker lore, which had to be at the very least worthy of a small column.

Iaderosa has tallied a total of 49 touchbacks on 299 kickoffs (.164) as well as three GLIAC all-academic team nods, while Picano – named to the All-GLIAC second team back in 2012 – has racked up the second-highest career yards per punt average (39.0) in the history of the program. It was only a matter of time.

Except the article didn’t come. Nor did the adulation, the glory or the fame. Such is the life of a kicker, but not even a footnote?

No matter. With one final home game left in their careers – a matchup Saturday against Tiffin – Iaderosa and Picano would probably settle for being correctly identified from one another.

Of Italian lineage, with beards Hugh O’Neill would be proud of, and stocky builds, both Iaderosa (5-foot-10, 205-pounds) and Picano (5-foot-11, 200 pounds) more closely resemble soccer balls than footballs, and, from a distance, might easily be mistaken for one another (as so happened in practice moments before this very exclusive interview was performed).

What they’d never be mistaken for is bland.15058_picanop


PB: How does one get started as a kicker?

MI: My dad came over from Italy, has always been about soccer, and I started playing when I was about 3. In middle school, I realized I was pretty good at kicking a football too, and found that I liked it. So I kept doing it.

CP: Same deal. I was a goalie, but I liked to run around a lot. My dad told me to try football so I did, and I was the only kid who could punt. I stuck with it all the way through, and well, it was a lot better than running around after a soccer ball.

PB: Then it was fate. How did y’all end up at GVSU together?

MI: Chris and I went to a couple of camps together, and the relationship between us seemed to work out really well. We both came to GVSU for a tryout, they liked both of us, offered both of us and so we figured why not spend some time together?

CP: That’s kicker love. During the tryouts, coaches asked me which place-kicker I liked better. I let them know on a side note that Marco and I are friends, but also that he was better.

MI: I like Chris ‘biceps too big for his body’ Picano for his muscles.

PB: Biceps? Pretty decent draw of a nickname for a punter.

CP: Right? My dad, he was a linebacker, and had me lifting since sixth grade. I was a lineman in high school, wrestled and played rugby, but that’s when I go off and punt. He says, “well this came out of nowhere, but keep lifting, keep lifting”. Now it’s my stress-reliever. If football didn’t go well today, I’ll get a lift or go for a run and feel a lot better.

MI: I actually really enjoy going to lift with Chris, and pretty much just making fun of him. My stress-relief is making fun of Chris while he lifts.

PB: Did you see that ESPN recently ran a piece on Steve Weatherford (punter for the New York Giants) for having the best body in the NFL? The man takes something wild like 18 supplements every morning, and sleeps in a hyperbaric chamber.

MI: Dude is yoked out of his mind! It’s absurd.

CP: Steve has been a huge idol of mine, and I’ve actually gotten a few tweets about the story today. A buddy of mine goes “the best body in Division II football also goes to a punter #fatjesus” and then tags me in it. Like alright, man. You can’t call me Fat Jesus and the most fit player in D2 football in the same tweet.

PB: Give me the first word that comes to mind: Ray Guy.

CP: Hang time.

PB: Shane Lechler.

CP: Bomb.

PB: Steve Weatherford.

CP: #FitFam

PB: Marco, you’re up. Adam Vinatieri.

MI: Clutch.

PB: Jason Hansen.

CP: Legend.

MI: Definitely legend.

PB: Sebastian Janikowski.

MI: Bomb! Bomb squad. Idol. Might be my favorite player ever. Love that guy.

PB: Can’t blame you. The “Polish Rocket” might be one of the best nicknames in sports today. You have a good nickname?

MI: Well I’m not Polish.

CP: We never gave you a nickname, did we? It’s coming to the end, and I have yet to think of a nickname.

MI: Could go Italian Stallion?

CP: I was going to go with Burrito.

PB: So they film these state of the football team addresses, and Marco, I’ve seen you representing with a burrito in hand on more than one occasion. How many burritos should a good kicker eat a day?

MI: The best strategy is a burrito a day keeps the doctor away.

PB: Better than an apple.

MI: Apples, how helpful are they? They don’t even fill you up. If you eat a burrito a day, I’d say you’re probably on your way to being one of the best kickers of all-time.

PB: Put this one to rest. Does it peeve you as kickers that you’re the only ones in a sport known as football that use your feet?

CP: No way. I’m not that foreign yet.

MI: It probably makes my dad upset, but it doesn’t bother me. I don’t think he knows the difference between fútbol and football.

PB: Pitchers, goalies and kickers, man. What are some of the rituals that come with being a kicker?

CP: I put my pads on earlier in the day than most guys on the team do, and have grown out my hair and beard, but otherwise my rituals have pretty much stayed the same since my freshman year. On game day, I get up and eat the same breakfast every morning, and watch about an hour of Spongebob to relax. It’s the mental part of football, ya’ know? Then I take a nice little nap before we go out on our Laker Walk, do the same stretches before we get out to the field and then kick a few pin punts and deep punts. It works for me.

MI: Starting off the day, I always watch a little Fresh Price of Bel-Air because I’ve got to get in the right mindset.

PB: That’s the best mindset.

MI: No doubt. Once I’ve laughed a little, and have done the Carlton in my basement, I’m ready to get out to the field. And when I do, I probably do stuff that’s a lot different than what most kickers do. I spend a good amount of time doing anything but kicking. I go out and return punts, run routes with (quarterback) Isiah Grimes and the receivers and I love running around and pretending I play a different position for a little bit.

PB: So what you’re telling me is that the coaches ought to game plan for you more.

MI: Well yeah. I like to go out there and show them that there’s another weapon out there, and then the coaches on the other team freak out.

PB: Who can kick a football farther?

CP: When it comes to kicking, it’s Marco by far. When it comes to punting…

MI: Chris just destroys me in punting.

CP: I can’t kick to save my life. At least Marco can punt a little. That’s why they keep him around as my backup. In case I go down, he’s the next best thing we’ve got.

MI: Thanks, man!

PB: Is it true that chicks dig the long-ball?

MI: It is. That’s what they love about me.

CP: You sure about that?

MI: Every time I show up places, girls ask me about the long-ball. Either that or the beard.

PB: What’s the reaction you get when you tell people you’re football players?

MI: Chris and I take pride when we go places and we tell people that we play football. They say what position, we tell them kicker or punter or something like that, and they look at us with this ridiculous face like “no you don’t, you play fullback.”

CP: The look’s more like “but wait, where’s the quarterback at?”

MI: Exactly.

CP: We’re both short and stocky, not tall and lanky. Hey did you know you’ve got the perfect body to be a kicker? And four years of eligibility left no matter where you go.

MI: Come work with us. We’ll get you ready.

PB: I like the sound of that. Teach me up.

CP: We got you. Just remember a burrito a day.

PB: Finish this sentence: A kicker is a (blank).

MI: Hold on, I have to come up with something ridiculous.

CP: It has to be so stupid and out of the ordinary.

PB: This has already been one of my favorite interviews.

MI: Stick around the whole time. Just wait for it.

CP: We love to have fun.

MI: Hmmmm. A kicker is … a long walk on the beach?

CP: But why? More like a kicker is … a burrito.

PB: Do y’all enjoy watching football?

CP: More so on the college football scene, but I’m the guy when it comes to fourth down and no one wants to watch it that flips back to game just to see what the punter does. Most punters use the same base, same drop, same swing, but I love watching it. It’s the one thing I care about.

MI: Chris and I have been to so many camps over the last couple of years that we know so many guys kicking all around the country, which is pretty cool. When UofM and MSU are playing, we know those guys. Cody Parkey with the Eagles, we know him, and we like seeing the guys that we’ve kicked with do some stuff.

PB: Chris, you’re a rugby guy. Can a rugby star hack it in the NFL?

CP: Oh yeah. It’s a different game – football’s about every single inch, while rugby is more like soccer with time of possession, working the field, finding open guys to make a move – but I could see it happening.

PB: Marco: Favorite cub team?

MI: Real Madrid probably. I went to Spain this past summer and got to see the fans first hand, but my dad’s team is Napoli since that’s where he grew up. It’s one of the two.

PB: What’s your hidden talent?

CP: I’m a great cook. It’s a passion of mine. My specialty it recreating my great-grandma’s sauce and making pasta. It doesn’t match hers – Marco can vouch that Italian grandmas can just throw anything in the pot and it all work out together – but mine’s not shabby.

MI: Besides growing a beard? I like baking bread. And I make some mean bread. I’ll toss in some garlic, some rosemary and you combine it with some pasta, it’s dangerous.

PB: It was meant to be. Did you guys ever live together?

CP: We did. I actually crashed at his dorm all the time freshman year because I didn’t want to walk back to the Ravines. He goes “how does the floor sound?”. I say “the floor sounds great.”

MI: I stayed over in Robinson, which was a lot of fun, and Chris basically slept on a giant pillow for over half of the year. You wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, and you trip over Chris.

PB: You’re both education majors and, like Grimes and Parling, have expressed interest in coaching. Cold you see a future where you keep the band together?

CP: We’ve talked about teaching in the same area before.

MI: It’d be a hoot if we taught at the same school. Maybe coach the same team. I don’t know who’d coach the specialists, though. It’d probably be a fight.

PB: Now when you say fight, are we talking an argument or would you kick for it?

CP: Kick for it. But see the thing is that Marco would win the kicking competition.

MI: And Chris would win the punting competition, and we’d be right back where we started. Guess we’ll have to long snap for it or something.

PB: What are the competitions like between you two?

CP: Either at the beginning or end of practice, we’ll do long ball or pin punts and I can’t win a pin punt to save my life. Everybody else seems to win it – we’ll usually bet Jimmy Johns or something like that – even when they’re blindfolded, and I’m still looking. That’s how horrible I am. It’s rough.

PB: Who’s winning the beard competition?

CP: I’ve been growing mine since sometime in July. Marco’s has been growing for maybe a month.

MI: I was blessed with some really nice beard-growing genetics.

PB: On the field, who can contribute more at other positions?

CP: When it comes to throwing and catching, it’s Marco. When it comes to speed, me. Hitting I don’t know.

MI: I’ve rocked some people here. Maybe we should run an Oklahoma drill? Chris is a better “in the trench” player, by far, and I’m a better skill player.

PB: I’m telling you, Marco, we need to get you out on the edge.

MI: I’m like Percy Harvin. As long as I have a ball in my hand, you have to get me involved.

PB: Breaking the mold for kickers everywhere.

MI: See kickers aren’t always seen as real football players, but Chris and I have a different body type than most kickers. I’ve laid out kids in my time, which I think I enjoy more than the actual kicking, and of course Chris is yolked out of his freakin’ mind. We’re trying to revolutionize the position.

CP: I do have one career tackle.

MI: And six career rushing yards that nobody knows about. Don’t forget that.

CP: And zero first downs. It was a fake punt and it was working, but there was a missed block and some dude caught me from behind about two yards short. It was the worst! I’m running and thinking to myself “I got it, I got it,” and then this kid spider-monkied me from behind.

MI: Come on, Biceps, you have to throw that dude off of you. You didn’t even try to stiff-arm him!

PB: What’s the best part about running a kickoff?

MI: Especially here at the home, the best part is getting that opening kickoff. The crowd’s going nuts, you’ve got the music and I just love energy knowing that I’m the first thing happening in the game. I just try not to mess it up.

PB: What’s the mindset before a punt?

CP: I just tell myself not to shank so that everyone doesn’t hate you. Marco was just talking about how everyone gets all hype for the kickoff, but when I’m out there, all I hear is “Boooooo offense! Why’d you have to do that?!” I just think to myself “gee thanks guys, I don’t want to play either,” go off, punt the ball, and typically the only people that cheer for me are the cheerleaders. Mostly the men cheerleaders, but hey.

PB: Still counts. When you’re kicking often, Marco, that means GVSU is generally doing well. Just the opposite for you, Chris. What do you consider your perfect game?

MI: Touchbacks are obviously what I want, and hitting an absolute bomb into the end zone makes me happy. Besides that, as long as I get enough kicks in the game to stay warm, and don’t have to go a half between getting on the field, I’m happy.

CP: Three punts with about a 40-yard average, and no touchbacks is about right for me. That way, I’m getting a little action, but we’re not getting stopped too much.

PB: Are you aware that you currently have the second-highest career average per punt in GVSU history?

CP: I’m fighting for first right now. I’m at a 39.0 and the guy ahead of me is at a 39.3. Although, if you average in my punts to date, I’m at a 39.4 which is where I hope to be when it all comes down to it.

PB: With just three games to go. But who’s counting?

CP: I had to know what I needed to do. And I do want the record, but whether I get it or not, one thing I am proud of is that I’m above everyone else when it comes to fair catches and punts downed inside the 20-yard line. That’s hang-time, and getting the ball to where it needs to be.

PB: What’s it like being a kicker on the sidelines?

CP: We’re completely left alone. Whether we’re losing or winning. It does bother us, but a lot of the times if we’re doing good, it means we’re doing good for the team. If we’re having a bad game, our demeanor gets pretty down, but when we’re having a good game, we’re pretty hype even if the team is losing knowing we’re doing or best.

MI: We can get pretty giddy. We even have our own cele (celebration). Wanna see?

The pair high-fives as they walk past each other, but then pulls an about face with vigor. Gearing up for a leaping mid-air shoulder bump, they again abort (it’s a fake!), high-five a second time and then reach for each others feet, all in perfect synchronization.

CP: We don’t leave the ground. We belong there.

PB: What T.V. or movie character do you relate to most?

CP: The kicker from The Replacements. He’s so chill, so laid back and even though I don’t smoke, I could see going out on the field with a cigar to punt giving you a real edge.

MI: Besides that, it has to be the kicker from Blue Mountain Sate. Harmon Tedesko is my idol, minus the drug abuse. Otherwise, he’s got things figured out.

PB: Do you ever pull off a few beard hairs to check the wind?

MI: It hurts a little bit to pull so I just bring some scissors out there with me.

CP: Could bring the electric razor, but would probably jam it on the way out.

pbarrows@lanthorn.com

To read the original post “Touchbacks: Q&A with GVSU’s specialists”, click here at the Lanthorn online.

Written by peterdbarrows

November 6, 2014 at 7:42 pm