There will be few more exciting times in the lives of Purdue's incoming freshmen football and basketball players than this summer, as they prepare to move on to college.
This spring and summer, GoldandBlack.com is catching up with those new Boilermakers to discuss it in our new "Entrance Interview" series.
Next up is place-kicker Paul Griggs, a Charlotte, N.C., native who made his way up to Purdue for the start of summer classes on Monday.
GoldandBlack.com: I'd imagine then that it'd been a fast couple days?
Griggs: "It hasn't moved that quick. It's really been the last couple hours that have been really all that fast-paced. Like I said I got here Saturday and got moved in and got settled and that was pretty low-key. I spent my first night in the dorm and that was good. We had Sunday off completely, so we had that day to chill and go around campus. But since then it's been pretty fast-paced because I had my first class this morning, then had lunch and tutoring after lunch, then study hall. And I have to get my physical done so I can start working out."
GoldandBlack.com: Has reality set in that you're at Purdue now and college is starting?
Griggs: "Yeah, definitely. I think it's completely different, just sitting there thinking about it vs. actually being up here doing it. Actually sitting in a class, sitting through a lecture and taking notes, all that."
GoldandBlack.com: Are you living in a dorm?
Griggs: "All the incoming freshmen, the 12 of us who reported in June, we're all in a dorm together. It's been good getting to know those guys, and they're your teammates for the next few years."
GoldandBlack.com: Are you ready to start working out?
Griggs: "Oh yeah. I'm very excited for that. We have to get our physicals done (today), so we weren't able to work out this morning. The first workout, barring any problems with the physical, should be (Tuesday) morning at 6 o'clock. It should be interesting."
GoldandBlack.com: What are your expectations for your freshman season?
Griggs: "It'd be really nice to have a 4.0. Certainly I want to be one of those guys on the team who's not causing any problems for the coaches in terms of them riding me about going to class and all of that. I'm here not just to help out the football team, but also to get a degree, so that's a priority.
"In terms of football, I just want to be able to help out the team in any way I can. If that means, making every kick then that's what it takes. If it means, every kickoff for a touchback then that's what it takes. I really don't want to focus on any personal accolades. It's kind of always been my motto that those will follow if I take care of everything that needs to be done. If I'm helping out the team and taking care of getting my technique and making sure I'm doing all that stuff correctly then I should turn out pretty well."
GoldandBlack.com: What's your major?
Griggs: "I'm trying to do a double in economics and applied math."
GoldandBlack.com: Sounds daunting.
Griggs: "Yeah. It's going to be tough, but I figure I'm going to be spending all this time up here anyway for football, I might as well fill the time I'm not spending working out or practicing with class. Certainly if the great state of Indiana is willing to pay for it, I'm willing to try my hardest. That's not too bad."
GoldandBlack.com: What makes you nervous?
Griggs: "Um, nothing really makes me nervous. I think excited would be a more apt description about how I'm feeling about these next couple months and the year ahead. I'm certainly excited about playing my first college game. I think they've announced that the Notre Dame game will be the first nationally televised game. Even my first college practice, I'm excited for that. My first college workout, I'm excited for that. (Sunday) night, I was up pretty late because I couldn't go to sleep because I was excited about class (Monday). A lot of excitement and not really any nervousness."
GoldandBlack.com: But you play a position in which you don't get many total snaps, but the ones you do can be very critical.
Griggs: "The way I deal with that is kind of my mental approach. You approach every kick the same way, whether it's in practice or the game-winner against Indiana for the Oaken Bucket. A kick is a kick and that hasn't changed.
"I think it works to my advantage because a lot of these guys are playing now at a level where the speed is faster and guys are bigger and stronger and a lot of them are used to playing against guys who are the same size or smaller. Now, they're going up against guys at least the same size or bigger. For me, it's the same field and the same uprights and all that; it really doesn't change a whole lot for me. Really, if you think about it that way, I've been doing this for seven or eight years now."
GoldandBlack.com: What's the biggest crowd you've played in front of?
Griggs: "Probably the biggest crowd I've played in front of is my junior year, when the school I transferred to played against the school I used to go to, and the crowd of that game was probably 2,500 to 3,000 people. It was at the other school. The majority of my games have had a couple hundred people at it, so not too many."
GoldandBlack.com: So playing your first home game, or at Notre Dame, might be a little different.
"Oh yeah. The atmosphere will be a whole lot different."
GoldandBlack.com: What will you miss from home?
Griggs: "Probably just all the familiarity.
You know how you have set routines, when you get up in the morning and you know where everything is, and you can pretty much do anything in the dark without thinking about it. But here, you have to set a whole bunch of new routines and figure out where everything is."
GoldandBlack.com: We've talked about this before, but will it be an adjustment for you to keep from the ground, rather than a tee?
Griggs: "Oh yeah. I think we've talked about this, but I've actually been training off the ground during the offseason since freshman year, so kicking off the ground is really nothing new. Really when I started this spring to prepare for this year it really wasn't a big deal at all."
GoldandBlack.com: What do you anticipate doing: both field goals and kickoffs?
Griggs: "Certainly, I'm anticipating being the field goal kicker and Coach (Danny) Hope and Coach (J.B.) Gibboney have both said I should expect competition from Thomas Meadows for the kickoff job. I know how I feel about it, but I'll let that be settled in camp."
GoldandBlack.com: You have a chance to make a big impact as a freshman.
Griggs: "Absolutely, that's really the biggest thing that I'll need to focus on. I'm in a unique position in that a lot of guys I'm up here with now might not see the field for a couple years because of depth. So certainly to be in an position where I have a chance to start as a true freshman is definitely something I'm really excited about and really looking forward to it."
GoldandBlack.com: What number do you want to wear?
Griggs: "I might find out (Monday), but I asked for 2, 3 or 4, so we'll see."
GoldandBlack.com: Any significance to those numbers?
Griggs: "Not really. I've been seven, 11, 18, 4 and 3. I was 4 during the my last two years of high school, but I'm not sure what the availability is looking like on 4. I know there were two people wearing 2 last year and they're both graduated, so that would be neat. I have an interesting thing about that: I've always admired John Kasey, who was a long-time kicker for the Panthers, which is the hometown team in Charlotte. When he moved to the Saints, he changed from 4 to 2, so it's be neat to be wearing the same gold and black that they are and the same number as him."
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