Senior Pat Kramer has been a rock for the Ramblers in his first season as their kicker. He’s third on the team in scoring with 60 points, having converted 54 extra points and two field goals in three attempts. His longest field goal of the season has been 34 yards.
Maroon & Gold: As Loyola remains alive in the playoffs, the chances you will be called on to kick a meaningful field goal get greater. Do you embrace the opportunity to kick a game-winning field goal?
Pat Kramer: Definitely. That is something I always look forward to doing. That is my job. You have to want to be put in the that position. I would be excited to go out there.
M&G: You said earlier this season that you wanted to work on your kickoffs, both kicking the ball deeper and on your squib kicks. Have you done that?
PK: Yeah. My squibs against O’Fallon and Brother Rice were a lot better. You have to be able to keep the ball away from a team’s best returners. Brother Rice had two ridiculous guys back there. I’ve also worked on kicking pop ups, trying to get the ball to a team’s non-returner.
M&G: Has your leg gotten stronger as the season has gone on? What sort of exercises do you do in the weight room? How important is stretching?
PK: I do the same workouts as the rest of the team. Our strength coach [Jeff Lindeman] does a good job of balancing out the workouts well. We do a lot of leg work, and mine has gotten a lot stronger. Stretching is very important to what I do. Before a game, while I am out there watching the sophomore game, is when I do a lot of my individual stretching. I then stretch with the team during warmups. Being loose is so important for me.
M&G: Describe a typical practice day for you.
PK: A lot of what I do is before practice. That’s when I get together with [junior linebacker] Jack Mullen, my snapper, and [senior receiver] Jack Martinus, my holder. We spend a lot of time on the details. We always have to be on the same page because everything has to be precious and it all happens so fast. There is so much room for error. By the time you get to a game, you want it to be routine. You want it to be easy then. Practice makes perfect.
M&G: How do you spend your time on the sideline during a game?
PK: I try to stay warm. If I see that we are driving, I will do some stretching and kick more into the net. If we are close to scoring, I will go to the sideline. But I am always paying attention to the game. You never know when you’re going to be called on. We could score really quickly, and I have to be ready to get out there.
M&G: Do you have any superstitions, whether it’s the shoes you wear or some act you have to perform before you kick?
PK: I can’t really say I do. Nothing weird. I wear regular soccer shoes. The biggest thing is that I just try to keep the same routine, which is to practice a lot.
M&G: Loyola’s last two kickers, Mike Kurzydlowski and Patrick Tata, both are playing in college. Kurzydlowski is at University of Chicago, and Tata is playing at Illinois Wesleyan. Do you have aspirations to kick in college?
PK: Yes, I do. I have gotten some looks from FCS school and some Division III schools. It’s not a highly recruited position, so it’s probably something I will have to pursue after the season.
Photo credit: Geoff Scott