May 122012
 

Today at The Football Fan Spot we have Tarleton State kicker and NFL Draft Prospect Garrett Lindholm. With a reputation for a strong leg, after hitting a 64 yarder last year and hitting 3 of 4 from 60 at his Pro Day, as well as nailing 47 touchbacks on 141 tries in the last 2 years, Lindholm could be the first kicker off the board in the 2010 NFL Draft, though he’ll have to beat out guys like Leigh Tiffin and Brett Swenson for the honor. His 64 yard field goal is tied for the 3rd longest field goal made in NCAA history. Today, he is here to tell us about his game and his Pre-NFL Draft experience.

The Football Fan Spot: First, a little bit of background stuff, when did you start playing football?

Garrett Lindholm: I began playing football in the seventh grade, but I wasn’t good enough to be the kicker. So, I ended up playing running back and corner back.

TFFS: Who did were some of your favorite players to watch as a kid? Favorite team to watch?

GL: Like most Texas kids I grew up watching the Cowboys and fell in love with the star players for Dallas like Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Irvin, etc..

TFFS: When did you first realize that you had a really good shot at the NFL?

GL: I always thought I would make it to the NFL, even as a little kid because I was faster and more competitive than the older kids I played with. My Mom has a recording of me saying I’m going to play football in the NFL when I was around 5. Ever since then, my mind hasn’t changed, but the position I thought I’d be playing has.

TFFS: I hear a lot about how kickers are often disrespected by their teammates for not being tough and not having to go out and get hit or hit someone. Has anything like that ever happened to go and if so, what was that like?

GL: I would say it’s mostly the Offensive linemen who gripe the most about kickers because they are only jealous that they aren’t kickers. I’m not your average kicker though; I work hard every day and am just as fast and strong as most the guys on the team. Plus, I made 15 to 20 touchdown saving tackles since I’ve been here on kickoffs alone.

TFFS: You made 3 of 4 kicks from 60 yards out at your Pro Day and that got the scouts really talking. Could you hit those type of kicks when you were say a freshman or sophomore or did your leg strength improve significantly over the course of your college career?

GL: Distance hasn’t ever been a problem for me; it’s just controlling and making the right contact that matters now. Yes, I could have made those kicks my freshman year, but my leg has increased in strength as well. Other players watched me make a 74 yarder and hit the cross bar twice in a row from 75 my freshman year as well.

TFFS: Which, if any, NFL teams have contacted you up to this point? Which teams sent scouts to your Pro Day?

GL: I’ve been blessed to have been contacted by a lot of teams. Our personal Pro Day only had one scout from the Dallas Cowboys, but at North Texas I think there was 17 scouts from 13 different clubs in attendance.

TFFS: A lot of the things I hear around the league about kickers are this: They’re all the same. They’re unpredictable. They’re not important. What’s your reaction to this?

GL: I wouldn’t say they are all the same, because each kicker is very different from technique, skill, or how they handle the psychologically tough situations. If you have a quality kicker, they shouldn’t be unpredictable at all, but expected to make every kick in any condition. You can ask any of my old teammates if they think kickers are important and I think they would say, “Yes, for sure.”

TFFS: How familiar you are with the other kickers in this draft class, as you are coming from a small school? How would you compare yourself to them?

GL: I have met a lot of this year’s draft prospects and have seen the rest on TV, but the good thing about kickers is the level of competition doesn’t matter. If you can kick, you can kick! I try not to compare myself to the other guys because if I do my best and train like I have since high school then it shouldn’t matter. I would like to think I match up pretty well with the best of them though.

TFFS: Switching from you to your former team, what is one thing about Tarleton State football that you believe the common football fan aught to know?

GL: That we are a scrappy team who never gives up and the score doesn’t matter in the end, but what does matter is who/what you played for (our teammates and our school).

TFFS: Interesting question, how good are you at soccer? I know what a kicker does and what a soccer player does are not exactly the same, but do those skills translate?

GL: I am actually a very talented soccer player and I had the opportunity to play in college, but passed it up to play football. I think most good kickers now days started off as soccer players. So, yeah the skill must translate.

TFFS: Have you ever played another football position on any level?

GL: I played outside linebacker, corner, and safety on defense and running back and receiver in high school. I mostly started at safety in high school, but would drop down in passing situation to linebacker to mirror the tail back. I didn’t play much offense, but was the punt returner and backup kickoff returner.

TFFS: Have you ever had to hit a game winner in college and if so, what was the outcome and what was that like?

GL: I hit one game winner last year with 3 seconds from 55 yards. To me it was just another kick and I had full faith in my snapper and holder, because they were the best. It was pretty exciting because we came back in the fourth quarter when nobody thought we could. It was pretty awesome to watch it sail between the uprights as time expired.

TFFS: As a football fan, are you a fan of particular kickers in the league? I just find it interesting to see if a kicker has a difference experience of being an NFL fan because, you know, you don’t exactly see people at the mall or wherever wearing Jay Feely or Shayne Graham jerseys.

GL: I’m a fan of each and every kicker, because they are where I want to be. I enjoy watching Jay Feely and Garrett Hartley kick because they look and kick similar to me, but watching Billy Cundiff kick from feet away in person made me want to be more fluid like him because he makes it look effortless. Maybe if I get in the NFL I could hopefully persuade some fans to wear my jersey.

TFFS: One final question, if an NFL GM were standing right in front of you and asked you, why should we draft you, what would you say to him?

GL: I promise to work hard day in and day out to get better each day and I am willing to listen to coaches and learn from others so that I can better my craft. I won’t have issues on or off the field that would bring bad news to the organization and plus I can kick touchbacks and game winning field goals in pressure situations. I hit a 64 yarder as time expired to send a game to overtime in the first round of the playoffs.

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