Cowboys kicker Jonathan Garibay joined an episode of The K&C Masterpiece on 105.3 The Fan [KRLD-FM] Monday to discuss his football origins, unique practice and personal bests. Here’s what he had to say.
Answers have been edited for length and clarity.
Now, there are two kickers out here. Is this a friendly competition? Is it bitter right now? How’s it going?
Garibay: “Well, it’s been awesome. It’s been awesome. Lirim (Hajrullahu), he’s a vet, too. I’m just looking forward to learning from him as well as Jake (McQuaide) and Bryan (Anger). They’ve been awesome out here so far.”
You know, kickers decide the outcome of games. A lot of times, quarterbacks do too. Quarterbacks get paid $40 million a year to do it. When do you feel like kickers are going to get to that number?
Garibay: “Hopefully sooner than later. We’ll see.”
You were just telling a really interesting story about how you got into football. Can you tell that a little bit? Because I want to ask you a little more about what the difference is now.
Garibay: “I grew up playing soccer for most of my childhood growing up, and once I got to middle school, I was still a big soccer player and a lot of my my friends from middle school, they were gonna try for the football team, you know, the next following year, freshman year, and they were like, ‘Hey, man, come on tryout with us and keep the group together. And I was like, alright, you know, I’ll do it. I don’t even watch it. But okay. So I tried out, you know, I was probably playing running back and linebacker, I think, that summer and then we had kicking tryouts. Our coach gathered the whole team up at midfield and everybody wanted to kick. I was like, I play soccer, it can’t be that hard. As soon as I kicked the ball. the coach just looks at the ball and he blows the whistle. He’s like, ‘alright, we found a guy. He grabs me from the facemask and he’s like, ‘son, you’re gonna kick for the next four years.’”
Was that the first time you ever kicked a football?
Was it a kickoff, or were you trying to kick a field goal?
Garibay: “Kick-off. And then with time, I was able to learn the technique and stuff. But it was just a kickoff and I was like, ‘I just have to kick it father.’ That’s all I did and I think it worked out so far.”
As you’ve gone along, is it just still kicking the ball? Or is there something different?
Garibay: “I mean, you can’t make it too complicated. But at the end of the day, you’ve just got to make kicks. But going through that process, when I became, I think, a junior in high school, that’s when I really learned the technique of the alignment and stuff. I just kind of put it to my own use and whatever worked with me. At the end of the day, it’s like anything. The more you put in, it’s the more you’ll get out of it. I just put in my work and that’s it.”
How do you try to keep the same mindset between a kick in the first quarter vs. there’s five seconds to go, that this is going to determine the outcome? Because as much as I try, the first inning and the ninth inning, there id a different sense to it.
Garibay: “At the end of the day, you just have to one for one. You got to have that mindset. It’s not trying to go 30 for 30, 40 for 40. The end season goal or whatever. Every kick is different. Every kick has its own little thing. Just go one for one. That’s it.”
Do the posts feel smaller whenever you are further away? Or do you have to tell your mind, no, it’s the same size?
Garibay: “I really don’t think about that. Honestly. One thing that just totally changed the way I looked at it, as you back up. This happened recently, while I was I was training. John Carney, he’s a he’s a coach out of San Diego. He kicked in the league for a while. He just he just told me, ‘Garibay when I kick I don’t even look at that post anymore. I just look at the alley.’ Because the posts are the same width as the hashes down the post. So he’s like, ‘just kick it into the alley.’ And that’s it. But it was an awesome tip. And you know, at the end of the day, just trust the alignment. And if you’re aligned correctly, just kick the ball the same. The ball should follow that line.”
How many times at Texas Tech did I have to make a tackle?
Garibay: “Practice? At practice I hit a few guys. Oh. I had a forced fumble against Oklahoma State in 2020. You can look it up.”
How pumped were you when that happened?
Garibay: “I was pumped, but then nobody was there to recover the ball so they got it back.”
What are some of the fun games you play with the other kickers or yourself to kin do, instead of just kicking, there’s another thing you are trying to do to keep it interesting?
Garibay: “What we did yesterday, actually, we went off to the sideline and the closer you get to the end zone, the slimmer the posts get from the side. So we were playing that game, trying to make it from there. Because it narrows it down, we were playing that game. That’s something we did in college or we used to play ping. But you didn’t have to kick it from the hashes, you could kick anywhere on the field. Just keeps it interesting.”
How quickly do you know when you’re warming up before a game, your distance? What’s that conversation like?
Garibay: “Normally how we’ve done it is, before practice you get a feel of your range and you kick both ways. Then you do the same thing around halftime. You kick both ways and see what the wind is doing. You give the coach your range. That’s how I’ve done it.”
In Lubbock, with the wind, how far have you made a field goal?
Garibay: “We kicked it indoors. I mean, I hit 67, 68. I think I probably nailed a 70 outside, maybe with a little breeze. I did it in junior college one time before I was leaving. I was training to go to Tech and was like, you know what? Let me test my range. There was a little crosswind and I just drove it. Tried it one time and and was like I’m not going to do it again.”
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