Lou Groza Award winning kicker Matt Gay didn’t expect to get picked in the fifth round, but the Bucs came calling and took the Utah place-kicker with the 145th overall pick.
Gay told the media where he expected to be picked, and what his emotions were once he found out the Bucs were selecting him. He goes on to explain what gave him so much success from long range kicks while at school.
Here’s the transcript from his conference call with the Tampa Bay media:
On what his expectations were in the draft and what it was like when he got the call
“Honestly, what I was hearing, what I felt was maybe sixth or seventh round, maybe even undrafted. When I got the call I looked at the board with the Tampa number and I looked at the board and I saw they were took picks away, I was like ‘No way, not right now.’ I was kind of shocked and overcome with emotion. It was amazing, honestly.”
On if he dealt with the Bucs during the draft process, if he spoke with any of their coaches
“I hadn’t talked to any of the head coaches or anything like that. The special teams assistant had reached out to me a few times and was kind of pretty vanilla about the situation saying ‘Hey, we like you, and hopefully there’s a good opportunity here.’ That’s kind of the extent and kind of checked up on me, but it didn’t seem like there was extreme interest or communication between me and the Buccaneers.”
On how nice it is that the Bucs having a kicking specialist kick, knowing he’ll be working with someone exclusively that’s been a kicker in this league
“That’s an amazing situation to have for me especially. I’ve haven’t really worked with a coach ever, so, to have that there, to have someone who knows how it is and can kind of be on the same page with how you’re thinking is amazing. Someone who’s going to adapt little things to help my game but also keep my same kicking style is going to be something that really pays off and be special.”
On what he attributes to having such great success from 50+ yards
“I think just being comfortable with my leg strength. Being able to not have to stretch or put any extra into those long field goals, I feel comfortable with my leg swings from those distances, so it’s almost like a normal leg swing, it’s not like I have to put any extra power behind it. It’s a comfortable swing and I think that helps go along the lines in what helps is there’s no change in my technique or approach, it’s just the same as any other kick. I hit them in practice situations so I just kind of feel confident and comfortable with those long ones.”
On how often has he had to make kicks in pressure situations and how comfortable has he been in them when it’s to tie or win the game late
“I’ve never had any last second game winners, but down the stretch with a few minutes left to tie the game or put us ahead, I’ve had quite a few. I feel like I handle pressure pretty well and I remain calm, I’m able to stay stable in those moments and be able to hit those, to give my team a chance. I know my team trusts me and that helps my confidence to go out there because they have all the faith in me, so, I’m just kind of confident in those moments and again I just feel comfortable in those pressure situations.”
On if he does kickoffs and would compete for it
“Definitely, that’s something I definitely want to compete for. I’ve been working on them this last season and then all in this pre draft process from January on, I’ve improved in those and there’s definitely more improvement to be done.”
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