Thursday, August 27, 2015

Wain getting his kicks on the field and in the classroom at UConn

In the eyes of Justin Wain, success as a punter and in the classroom pretty much go hand and hand or perhaps hand and foot would be more appropriate.

Twice during Wain's time at UConn he earn a 4.0 grade-point average and more often than not, his GPA has been north of 3.9.

At yesterday's media day I finally had the chance to catch up with Wain and discuss his brilliant work in the classroom.

"Everything has to be perfect, it might just be the punter thing, everything has to be perfect for a good punt and everything has to be perfect in the classroom too," Wain said. "That carries over, that is what Coach (Bob) Diaco tries to get us to do, classroom carries over to the football field."

Wain has been a regular on the American Athletic Conference All-Academic team. I was curious when he first went all in during his pursuit of a perfect report card.

"In high school," Wain said. "They teach you that it is important to get good grades to get into college. I wouldn't say they were all straight A's in high school but I was trying to get good grades in high school. It is the same thing in college, get good grades and go to grad school."

Wain might be onto something in terms of the correlation between special teams productivity and academic success. A total of 31 football players marched in the parade of UConn student-athletes with at least a 3.0 in either the spring or fall, 2014 semester. Joining Wain on the list was starting kicker Bobby Puyol, long snapper Dom Manco and punt protector Sean Marinan. When UConn recognized its top student-athletes at halftime of a February women's basketball game against South Carolina, Wain, Marinan and reserve kicker Will Rishell were among the 20 athletes in all sports honored for attaining a 4.0 GPA.

"In special teams, you have to do everything right," Wain said. "For us, we only get one chance to do it so eliminate all the errors that you can so we get the counts right, the directions right and execute everything else right so it is just like school."

At the last scrimmage Wain was among the players I mentioned as standouts as he dropped one punt on the 1 and boomed another one out of the end zone for about 45 yards. Although there were no returns in the scrimmage, the punt would almost certainly had resulted in a fair catch in a real game situation. If that is an indication of where Wain is right now, he could be a much improved punter in his second season as the starter.

"I am working hard right now," Wain said. "It is all about getting consistent, consistent, consistent so I spent a lot of time with that. I am definitely a lot stronger than I was last year and I have a lot more explosion so I have seen that carry over from a weight-lifting standpoint and a leg standpoint."

Wain decided to spend the entire summer up at UConn rather than heading home to North Carolina.

"We keep working on it and it has been a good year," Wain said. "I spent all of my summer here so I didn't have a chance to go back home. It is all consistent drops and that is what we do."



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home