One of the more difficult aspects of preparing for these one-on-ones is finding a play where there’s enough to go through that a natural set of questions emerges; without multiple questions, these interviews would just be “whoa dang,” “yep,” fin. It’s always worth going through the entire game to make sure the right play wasn’t overlooked in favor of the one that stood out on the stat sheet. That said, we’re all human, and sometimes we get caught in the tractor beam that is talking about the “whoa dang” play. This is one of those times.
What are some of the differences between playing defensive line and playing the line on punt return?
“I think on punt return you kind of just get a running start for things. You’re not really keying a guy for the most part. And especially when we’re in our safe punt formation, more so just to fair catch a ball and not trying to do anything intricate with a return.”
On this particular play, did you expect that guy lined up a little outside of you to at least chip you as he releases?
“Yeah.” [laughs] “I think that’s normally what they want to get done and he ended up doing that and I was able to run free for the most part.”
Once he does get past you and see the open field in front of you, what else are you seeing?
“I’m just seeing the punter and their shield guy and I know from previous years that a lot of the times that we’re in our safe punt you try to blow up the shield guy, and that’s what I did on that play.”
With that shield guy, what are you thinking when you see that he starts to drop his shoulder and break down?
“Just to run over him.”
After you have that collision did you think about doing the belly rub or is that reserved just for sacks and tackles for loss?
“That’s just for sacks and tackles for loss.”
I gotcha. Not a special teams thing.
[Ed. A- Props to Gfycat for coincidentally nailing the naming of this GIF. (Open in a new tab if you’re curious.)]