Life at Humbolt University

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Tim McMullen, Humbolt Punter – Gives us some insight into what it is like to be a punter in College Football.

I’ve stepped into a world that is so far beyond anything I’ve ever experienced before.

The first few days starting out in LA were tough. Missing home, missing certain people at home, as well as just the security of my own bed and house to relax in. It was really hard and I can be honest about that.

I arrived in Arcata after 5 days in the US and it SUCKED. The town, the people, completely the opposite of anything I had expected. But it gets better so hold on. Mum and I were staying at a hotel right above where all the action goes down, so it was a pretty noisy place

Once I moved into my 5 man apartment, over looking the football field (prime location), things did lift. The only problem is to get to the football field, which is only about 200m away, you have to walk down a big hill, cross a river, then climb up another rocky slope through trees and bushes to come out onto the back end zone. All part of the journey though.

American football is unbelievable. The size of some of these guys is ridiculous. Like we see Jonathan Brown or a Courtney Johns and think he's big. This brings it to a whole new level though. Their are at least 15 guys on the team and big and heavier than J Brown. Granted they can carry more fat in their chosen field of competition, but they are massive none the less. The NEW level of size is amazing to me however. Their is a linebacker on my team that looks like Triple H. I am not kidding. The width of his back, the size of his arms and legs, and he can run. I think coach said he does a 40 yard dash in like 4.7 seconds. To put that context for you to translate, Alwyn Davey or like a Wojinski would do a 40yarder in 4.5. . . Maybe. They hit hard and they move fast. I guess it’s just a part of the game.

The team environment is like nothing I have ever experienced before. We eat together, we train together, we lift together, we have team meetings whenever we are not training, and yeh we basically sleep together.

The locker rooms are a base point for everyone on the team. You can walk into the locker rooms at any one point of the day, other than when we are out on the field, and there will be players in there sitting around on the couches chatting or just generally killing time. When there are 110+ players in the fall training camp, there is always someone to talk to.

My accent has taken awhile for people to actually be able to understand, but now it’s a real asset for me. At first, a lot of the guys took awhile to come around and actually open up to me, but most of them have been pretty cool to me today. But hey, after 4 days I've probably spoken to most of the guys on the roster. I couldn’t remember for the life of me half of their names, but faces and body types, you can guess which position they play.

I doubt it's as good a weapon as they say, but most of the guys actually want my voice now which is a plus. When we had our first BBQ on the first night of camp, all the freshmen had to stand up and introduce themselves. When I stood up and said Hey I’m Tim I’m from Melbourne Australia, I look forward to meeting all you guys," most of the guys stood up and started jeering and yelling stuff out. It didn’t happen for anyone else so I got a lot of confidence out of that.

Training everyday is pretty cool, we sit in the locker rooms like an hour before training and the beats start getting pumped. Real gangster beats too because the guys need to get pumped. Great environment to be a part of. Whenever a big play of an interception happens on the field, the sidelines irrupt. Hoots and guys doing big chest bumps everywhere. Just like the movies. Awesome.

My nicknames on the team so far are Aussie, Outback and 99. Oh yeah I forgot to mention, I got number 99. Personally I find it pretty cool, but it’s a starting point at least, I didn’t really expect a single digit number or anything. I get plenty of Steve Irwin and Kangaroo questions, and I've tried to explain AFL too many times to count, but it’s all fun. Listing to Americans try to put on an aussie accent, which for some reason always sounds to me like a pom accent, is worth copping all the jokes they throw at you. It is such a bad voice they put on which always gets me in hysterics.

Having a state of the art gym and a strength and conditioning coach who actually is accountable for you is really cool too. As well as having breakfast lunch and dinner as all you can eat meals. Most people put on the most weight and size during camp, so I'm going to try and copy that and see how I go. So far I don’t see a belly coming on, so all the food I've been eating must be going somewhere else, which is a good sign:)

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