Sooners Illustrated sat down this week with redshirt freshman kicker Tress Way, who recently took the starting spot from sophomore Jimmy Stevens, and asked him a few questions about the kicking game.
On if it’s a good or bad thing that he hasn’t had to kick field goals
There’s no question. That’s an awesome thing. I was just telling [someone else] that Landry, Landry’s parents, you know, we always go out to eat after church and stuff like that, so I’m sitting there with Landry and his parents and some of our friends, and Kevin Jones’ dad always says, ‘Landry needs to take a couple knees for you so you can get some field goals.’ I said, ‘No, man. You and the offense just put the ball in the end zone, and I’ll tack on the extra point. You know, I’m here to do whatever I can, and you guys keep scoring, and I’ll keep kicking.’
On what it’s like on the sideline knowing all he’s kicked is extra points
Yeah, you know, I obviously have to stay prepared, get ready for anything. Coach does a good job of making sure game-like situations in practice. You know, every time it gets to be third-and-long, I really don’t get nervous. I feel good. I’ve been kicking for a long time. But, it’s getting cold now, and we got just great weather the other night, but as it starts getting cold, I’m going to have to keep stretching, stay loose, because we’ve got some tough games coming up with Nebraska and at Tech and Oklahoma State. You know, we may need a long field goal here and there, so I got to stay ready.
On how he’s been drilling extra points and if helps for longer kicks
Yeah, no matter how you’re kicking it, if you can hit a 58-yarder consistently, then you’re P.A.T. needs to go 58 yards, and so whenever I line up, I don’t look and see how far it goes. Hopefully it goes far for the fans’ sake or something cool like that, but as soon as I see it through the middle, I just turn around, shake everybody’s hand and jog off to the sideline.
On if the success he’s having in the punting game helps mentally for the kicking game
Absolutely. Whenever I first started kind of getting in the groove [it helped]. Idaho State is whenever I started feeling really comfortable punting the ball, and, you know, it took me until about the second half of the Kansas game when I started getting comfortable with P.A.T.’s again because I hadn’t hit a PAT, made a P.A.T. in a game since my senior year in high school, two and a half years. So I started getting out there, getting in the groove, and it really helps me because I know it happens, and I do everything to make sure it doesn’t, [but] if I have a bad punt, I just turn around, and I focus right on the field goal the next time or vice versa, so it helps me out mentally.
Tonight’s fourth quarter forecast
50 degrees, partly cloudy with a wind chill of 47
On the effect of cold weather and his kicking rituals
Honestly, there’s two things. You got to keep your leg really loose because it’s going to be freezing up there, I’m sure. You know, it’s a night game, and you got to keep the hands nice and warm because that balls going to get slick, and it’s dry, and that sucker slides through your hands, and we don’t want that to happen.
On if cold weather concerns him at all late in the year
You know, not really. The guys, Carter Whitson and Ben Hampton are the snapper and holder, they put the ball where it needs to be, so I just got to keep my leg warm, and James Winchester snaps it where it’s supposed to be. I just got to keep the hands warm.