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What They Were Thinking

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Florida State’s DUSTIN HOPKINS kicks off to Northern Illinois at the start of the Orange Bowl in Miami, Jan. 1, 2013 — “At first I’m thinking, ‘Sky left,’ that’s where they [the coaches] wanted the ball. To the goal line, left. They don’t want it in the end zone for a touchback because they think our defense is so fast they can get them down before the 25-yard line. Then I have a rhythm I go to. It’s a habit of mine. I go [slowly] 1, 2, 3 before I run, then 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and then I kick it. Right after that, I’m thinking I hope the ball is going where I’m supposed to kick it. A good kick sets the tone of the game. Before the kick, I push both ends in and try to make the ball a little fatter and a little rounder so it flies a little easier when the leather’s not as stiff. It may not make a difference the first time, but I feel if you get that ball five times, it helps a little bit. Every once in a while, the kicker picks up a little contact, which is good. I’m not the last guy on defense, I split the gap. If I kicked it left, the guy on my right would fall back and be the safety. I made a couple of hits in my career.”

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