Sept. 5, 2003
Prior to Washington's game at Ohio State, Husky fans had a good idea what to expect from the UW's high-flying offense, and figured they could count on the veterans in the UW defense to get the job done. Special teams, though, was a bit of a mystery. With record-setting plackicker John Anderson graduated and punter Derek MccLaughlin away on his Mormon mission, the Huskies entered the game with two kickers and two punters - none of whom had ever appeared in a game. Add to their inexperience the fact that they would be making their debuts before 100,000 fans, in a night game on national television against the defending national champions, and its understandable that Husky fans had their fingers crossed when punter Garth Erickson headed out for his first attempt. That attempt, however, sailed 43 yards, and the next one 40 more. By the end of the night, Erickson had punted 10 times - tied for eighth-most in UW history - and averaged a more than respectable 38.9 yards, even pinning the Buckeyes on their one-yard line with a coffin-corner kick in the third quarter. GoHuskies.com correspondent Mason Kelley talked with Erickson about his terrific debut, and what the future may hold for the senior walk-on.
Go Huskies.com: How was it, stepping out onto the field at Ohio State?
Garth Erickson: "It was quite an experience. I tried to take it all in - the crowd and everything - before the game and then just not look up again after that."
GH: What was going through your mind during your first punt?
Erickson: "'Get it off.' I tried to get out there and relax and as soon as the snap left the center I wasn't think of anything but getting the kick off."
GH: How were you able to take a low snap and turn it into one of your best punts of the game?
Erickson: "That happens sometimes. When you have a bad snap you have to get it off extra quick. A lot of times you will get your kick off, and it's not a big deal."
GH: Did you plan on being the starting punter when you came into camp?
Erickson: "I hoped so. That is why I stuck with it. I thought I had a shot. I knew I would have to have a good camp, but I thought I had a shot."
GH: How do the Huskies plan on rebounding against Indiana?
Erickson: "I think when you get beat the way we were beat you just have to bounce back. It wasn't like Michigan last year, where the game was ours. This team (Ohio State) just outplayed us. We've just got to bounce back and realize we have to get better."
GH: What personal goals have you set for yourself this season?
Erickson: "I just want to keep improving week-by-week and stay consistent."
GH: How did you get into punting?
Erickson: "My senior year in high school we didn't have a punter. I was a wide receiver/defensive back and I thought I could help the team out. I had been able to do it before, but it wasn't anything I had thought of. By the first game I was starting."
GH: Do you ever get the itch to play other positions?
Erickson: "Yeah, I would play wide-receiver, or defensive back. I thought about switching a couple of times, but I decided to stick with punting because it was my best chance of getting on the field."
GH: What is your favorite thing to do when your not booming punts?
Erickson: "Just relaxing, watching games on T.V."
GH: If you had the opportunity to be anywhere right now where would you go?
Erickson: "I feel fine right here getting ready to play another game."
GH: What does the future have in store for you?
Erickson: "I don't have any plans for the future yet. I just want to get my degree and see where it takes me."
GH: Where will the Huskies finish the season?
Erickson: "Hopefully at the top. We have a lot of work to do, so we need to take it week-by-week. This is a talented team and we can do a lot of good things."
GH: Any predictions for Saturday?
Erickson: "I think you will see a team that is ready to play."