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October 15, 2012

Alex King

Q.  When things are going like that and you're punting a million times, does your leg start to get tired and do you not like having to punt that much in a game?
ALEX KING:¬† Well, any time we have to punt eight times in a game, we're not doing everything we need to be doing on offense. But at the same time, it's nice to be able to get out there and‑‑ I haven't punted that many times this season, so it's good to get some experience out there, especially on a stage like the Red River rivalry, something I've always wanted to play in.
But yeah, I mean, definitely it's‑‑ trying to keep my leg warm throughout the course of the game is always a challenge. But we've got nets on the sideline, and it's just something you have to deal with when you're a kicker or a punter.

Q. You come from Duke. How did you get to Texas?
ALEX KING:  Well, towards the end of the season last year when I was at Duke, I sort of decided that I didn't want to come back for my fifth year there. One of the graduate programs I was going to be doing there wasn't something I was interested in. I had a couple job offers that I was thinking about entertaining. I had just come off a pretty good season. So I didn't know if the NFL was a possibility. I just had a lot of questions. I dealt with my dad passing away, and I just kind of needed some time to sit back and just reevaluate everything.
So February came around, and I sort of realized that football was something, especially playing in college, if you get a fifth year, everybody wants to have a fifth year, they always want to have that‑‑ everybody who played college football wants to go back and keep playing, and that's exactly what happened to me. I went to go talk to Coach Cutcliffe at Duke and asked him if I could come back and play and if they still wanted me to come back, and he definitely said yes.
But there were no more scholarships available, and that was something that I looked at as‑‑ nothing negative in any way, because they're trying to build a program, and it was just so happened that's how it worked out. I asked him if I could have my release to talk to other schools, and he was very understanding and actually pointed me in the right direction and helped get me in touch with Coach Brown, and that's how it all happened. So it's kind of a complicated story, but it was very easy.

Q. Seems like the most devastating thing was the loss of your father. What happened?
ALEX KING:  Well, halfway through the season we had a bye week, and my father actually committed suicide, but he was really sick for a long time and had some mental issues. He had rheumatoid arthritis, and he was an orthopædic surgeon and couldn't work anymore. That was really his whole world, and he couldn't work, he couldn't help people and he couldn't be happy.
You know, a lot of people look at that as a terrible tragedy, and yes, of course it was; it was a big deal. But my dad taught me a lot of things. I mean, the time I had with him was an honor, and a lot of people have much tougher situations. So it's been an interesting trip, and I've had tons of support from my family and coaches and teammates at Duke. That's really all I have to say about that.

Q. How did you start to kicker?
ALEX KING:¬† You know, there's just not a whole lot you can do about things that happen sometimes. I mean, God gives you a path, and you just kind of have to go on it. I think it's important to overcome adversity and really use the things you have around you as your motivation and just remember that tons of people have it much worse off than you in a lot of circumstances, and that's exactly what the case was with me. I mean, I was playing college football. Tons of people would love to be playing college football. It's just‑‑ there was no other choice. It was a very easy decision to keep playing. It's exactly what my dad would have wanted me to do, and I couldn't think of a better way to honor his memory.

Q. What has your Texas family meant to you?  What have they brought to you?
ALEX KING:  Well, my new Texas family has meant a lot. From the first time I came here with Coach Brown, just talking to him, and actually I met President Powers and his wife, and of course MissSally and Coach Brown, it just felt like immediately I was part of the family, and they made me feel very wanted and needed, and it was a great feeling to be a part of that experience.
You know, I wasn't recruited really coming out of high school, so this was really like the first time that anybody had expressed serious interest in me. Of course it was after I initially expressed interest in Texas, but it is what it is. They mean everything. My teammates here, I feel like I've known them for four years, and it's just been truly a blessing.

Q. Is there a bit of a culture shock for you coming to a place where football is No.1 as opposed to being at Duke, where at least outsiders feel like the football season is just the time for something to do until basketball starts?
ALEX KING:¬† Culture shock?¬† Yeah, I mean, I came to the spring game. That was my first time coming here. And there were 50,000 people in the stands, and the stadium was half full. So you know, playing at Duke, we had about 30,000 ‑‑ a little over 30,000 fans at our most packed games. It's interesting to compare the two cultures. There's definitely a concentration on basketball there, but clearly Duke is having a great year this year, too, in football. What Coach Cutcliffe has done over there is amazing, and I'm not surprised at all that they're having the year they're having right now. I'm extremely happy for them.

Q. Now, when March Madness comes along, where do your allegiances lie, here or‑‑ I know it's hard to put that big passion for basketball aside.
ALEX KING:¬† Well, growing up in North Carolina, in Winston‑Salem, you've got Wake Forest, you've got NC State, and UNC and Duke all right there within a two‑hour drive of each other, and so I really grew up an ACC basketball fan. Always wanted to play basketball in college, but it just didn't work out really.
So I think my allegiances will always lie with Duke somewhat. I love Duke a lot, and I loved my experience there, and I loved going to basketball games there. I actually played AAU when I was younger, and I got to play some tournaments at Inside Cameron, and it was a lot of fun and something I'll never forget.

Q. At least you're still not there to have to endure all of Duke's opponents wearing Lehigh shirts this year.
ALEX KING:  That was a tough game. That was a tough game.

Q. Mac has talked about the game, and one of the first things he talked about was he just bragged on the kicking game. Do you feel like you've made that kind of an impact here, or are you a more humble person?
ALEX KING:¬† You know, I'm just one guy who has one job, and it's my job to kick the ball as far as I can, put some hang on it, let our guys get down there. If I don't do that, then I'm not doing my job. I think he does a good job of letting us‑‑ giving us credit when it's deserved. He's just a really great guy, and I have a lot of respect for his willingness to give credit where it's deserved. It's just something I have to do. It's just part of the job, and it's a pretty simple job.

Q. Coming to Texas after what you went through last year, was it‑‑ were you kind of looking forward to almost a fresh start and a new beginning, if you will, completely different from anything you had ever experienced before?
ALEX KING:¬† Yeah, I mean, definitely. Last year presented challenges. I was just a little lost at the end of the season, didn't know what I wanted to do. But I think a challenge is exactly what I needed, and coming here with new experiences, making new friends, new teammates and all that, it's really been‑‑ it's really just been an awesome experience. I don't think‑‑ I have absolutely no regrets, and I'm extremely happy with my decision to come here.

Q. What are you going to do after Texas?
ALEX KING:  I haven't figured that out yet. Sort of just concentrating on Baylor next week and taking it one week at a time, and wherever next year takes me, next year takes me.

Q. What's your major?
ALEX KING:  Well, I majored in history at Duke, but here I'm in the advertising program. I'm getting my master's in advertising.

Q. You said you weren't good enough to do ACC basketball, so why did you pick up a football and start punting and kicking?  Who taught you all that?
ALEX KING:  You know, growing up in North Carolina, I mean, I played every sport there is. I played soccer when I was a kid and switched to football in seventh grade, never picked up a soccer ball again. I played basketball my whole life. Everybody in North Carolina grows up playing basketball pretty much, and that's just kind of how it is. Here it's football, there it's football. I played baseball. You know, I inherited a lot of athletic ability from my dad and also my mom's side of the family, a family full of athletes.
It's just something that kind of came natural. I was a quarterback in high school, and when I got to‑‑ I went to prep school for a year to try to figure out which sport I was going to play in college, between basketball and football, and just kind of continued to punt and kick, and that's just something I also did on the side.
Quarterbacking is really what I wanted to do, and when I got to Duke, I wasn't quite good enough to be a quarterback there. We had some good quarterbacks, and it just didn't quite work out, so I just decided to try to concentrate on punting, and every year I've gotten better, and I've had some good coaching and some‑‑ I've gone to some great instructors, and I've learned a lot. I'd like to think that it's helped me get to where I am.

Q. Saturday is cancer awareness. Do you know what color ribbon you're going to be wearing yet, and what's it like to play for someone besides yourself when you're out there?
ALEX KING:  Yeah, I think we all play for other people, even if we don't totally know it. At the end of the day, we are always thanking the people who gave us these opportunities and remembering the ones who can't be there. I haven't decided which color I'm going to wear. My mom is a huge breast cancer supporter. She never had breast cancer, but I do have some friends whose moms had breast cancer, so that's definitely an option. The testicular cancer ribbon is another one I am thinking about. That's a very common problem with men. I think they're all good options, so I think it's great that we're all going out there and at least adding that cause to our list of causes.

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