I was needing a column topic, and then I thought of Derek DePasquale, who was a column waiting to happen. So I spent 13 minutes, 45 seconds with the Mississippi State senior placekicker on Tuesday, and here is what I wrote for today's Journal.
There was plenty that had to be left out, because like I wrote in the column, DePasquale – a.k.a., DePaq – is an interesting fellow. Besides being a heck of a kicker, he's a funny guy with an interesting back story. So here are some highlights from the cutting room floor.
• The weirdest thing about DePasquale: "I'm a nerd. An engineer, man. I'm all about the math and science."
• Is he the smartest guy on the team? "Nah. (Pause) Yeah, yeah. Definitely."
• On giving former teammate Chris White financial advice: "He's got a bright future, and I love my teammates, and if they need advice about anything, I'm there for them. (Punter Baker Swedenburg walks past.) Baker's probably the second-smartest guy on this team."
• On Swedenburg: "Baker's his own guy. He's going to be an IT guy, he's a computer whiz. He's really smart."
• On going into business with Swedenburg someday: "We're thinking about it. We've got some ideas. Can't tell you about them, but they're good."
• On why he left the Colorado School of Mines after one season: "It was a terrible situation. No holder, second-string, third-string snapper. So I had a terrible record there, and I didn't like the coach, I didn't like the school – it was an engineering school, it was all guys. It was 16 hours from home (The Woodlands, Texas), I didn't know anybody. I love Colorado, but I just wanted to find a good southern school with a good engineering program, and Mississippi State fit that pretty well."
• On Dan Mullen coaching special teams: "It's interesting to say the least. We have some good talks. He's got some good advice for me. I try not to take everything he says too literally, because he's a football coach. He's not a kicking coach, but I guess he wants to be sometimes."
• On if he could play another position: "I like safety. I played that in rugby. I was a fullback. I was all-greater Houston rugby senior year."