It's not often a freshman plays a large role in a team's championship run, and it's even less common that freshman is a punter. James Madison's Harry O'Kelly is one of the exceptions.
A second-team all CAA performer and a HERO Sports Freshman All-America selection, O'Kelly has done the job on the field, and then some. Ahead of the FCS Championship versus North Dakota State, O'Kelly says he's staying on routine. But that's boring, so we asked him to chat about OTHER THINGS.[divider]
FCS Championship Coverage
Q: Being from Australia, how much American football did you watch growing up?
O'KELLY: No, not really. I love basketball. I still keep iup with the NBA and the college teams.I always played Australian football and loved that sport and only recently started to get into American football.
Q: Do you get a chance to watch any American football during the season?
O'KELLY: Sometimes I do. We've got pretty busy schedules but when I get a chance to to sit down and watch, I watch. Every one else turns out when they're punting but that's when I'm watching the game.
Q: Punting is a bit of an isolated job as it is and now you've had three weeks in between the semifinals and the title game. Have you prepared any differently?
O'KELLY: I've prepared the same, it's another game. Every week is the biggest game of the year, so this game is the biggest game of the year because it's the next game.
Q: What's your pregame routine like?
O'KELLY: I like to run around the field, you'll see me in warmup bouncing the ball to myself, kicking the ball up in the air and catching it. I just have fun out there.
Q: You guys ran a couple of successful fake punts this year, a 30-yarder versus New Hampshire and a 9-yarder versus Delaware. How much are you asking coach to THROW the ball on those fakes?
O'KELLY: I think they saw me throw the ball when I first got here and cut that off pretty quick!
Q: During your down time in the middle of the game, what are the conversations like?
O'KELLY: Every game I'll ask a new question about what's going on. Why has the clocked stopped, why did they run the same play, or someone will say, 'that guys just made a good block,' and I'm like 'did he? I don't know what you're looking at, I just watch the ball.
Q: Who's the best Twitter follow on the team?
O'KELLY: That's a tough one … just not Tyler Gray (Jr. kicker). Bit boring, ya know? (laughs)
Q: When it's times to relax, what's your music of choice?
O'KELLY: AC/DC. I love it. Big Australian band. Since I got over here, I've loved theme even more, I listen to them before very game. That gets me going. You really can't get enough AC/DC.
Q: If you could pick one superpower which one would you pick and how would you use it?
O'KELLY: Teleporting, so I could get home quicker to see family, and cloning, so I my clone could be out at practice and I can stay back in the locker room.