Oct. 21, 2011
STANFORD, Calif. - David Green, a fifth-year senior, won the starting punter role after ceding it to Daniel Zychlinski most of last season. The science, technology and society major was averaging 42.0 yards per kick going into the Oct. 15 game at Washington State.
The top-rated placekicker in the country by scout.com coming out of high school, Green has been exclusively a punter since his first action, as a redshirt freshman in 2008. Green shares his thoughts on his experience on The Farm, balancing the demands of football and academics and what it takes to be a successful punter.
THE STUDENT on ...
Choosing his major of science, technology and society?
“I wanted to focus on business and I felt STS provided a well-rounded approach to that. I took an entrepreneurship focus, management organizational theory, and it was great. I loved not being constrained. I have one class remaining, but I plan on staying the whole year and minoring in psychology. I did sales over the summer and I really liked it, so I might pursue that.”
His defining moment at Stanford?
“Last year I took a class called Technology Entrepreneurship where we built our own startup and it was really tough. We did a lot of group collaboration and it made me realize how much work it takes to do anything well in life. I don’t think I would have got that experience anywhere else but Stanford, they actually let you build a company and that’s just miles above the books.”
How do you balance school and football?
“Everything needs to be in its right place. The key is getting the job done in the classroom, then getting the job done in football, and then if you have a little bit left over at night you can do that. Coach (D.J.) Durkin, our old special teams coach, used to say ‘If you do something right in one area you’re going to do it right in all areas.’ I try to apply that same principle and be all that I can be in every aspect of my life.”
How football translates to life?
“Persistence, you can never give up no matter what the situation is, always keep your foot on the gas pedal. It’s about developing a routine that you stick with through thick and thin, and that’s what I’m trying to do. If things don’t go well I just have to continue to grind and work harder. It’s not really about how well you perform on the field, it’s what kind of person you are.”
THE ATHLETE on ...
What does it take to be a successful punter?
“Andrew Fowler is getting the balls exactly where I need them, so it’s nice not to worry about that. I try not to think about anything. If I think about technique it gets distracting. I try to focus on the ball from the catch all the way through the kick. If I can do that my nerves just sort of dissipate. It’s not easy because there’s a lot of pressure and as the season goes on, I hope to get locked in. If I can do that, things will be fine.”
What’s your relationship like with the other punters?
“Daniel Zychlinski and Ben Rhyne are stellar athletes. These guys are right on my heels and they’re great guys, we’re pretty competitive. Z and I have been doing this for four years now and we still have a great relationship, it’s very professional. Hopefully, there’s not too much bitterness at the end of the day because it is tough. Ben Rhyne is young and he’s emerging. He’s going to be a great punter as well.”
How does your experience make you a better punter?
“I’ve been through the off-seasons, been through the springs, been through the games. It’s an accumulation of all that experience and finding out what works and what doesn’t work. It’s like a puzzle to solve and you have to figure out how to punt. Having a positive outlook on things is something that five years has really taught me and keeps me from letting a bad game get me down.”
-- Sam Cohn