A few minutes with … Ryan Doerr

After pinning Oklahoma inside the 20-yard line on all five of his punts last weekend, Kansas State senior Ryan Doerr was the obvious choice for Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week.

Field position was a key part of the Wildcats’ victory over the Sooners, and Doerr delivered every time he stepped onto the field.

He was happy to help his team in any way he could, and was naturally excited on the plane ride home. Hearing that he earned an honor from the Big 12 on Monday pumped him up even more. It wasn’t until later that day that he spoke with his mother on the phone that he tried to calm himself down.

“I talked to my mom for probably 10 minutes and she was so happy,” Doerr said. “I was like, ‘Mom, it’s OK. It’s not like I’m up for the Heisman like Collin (Klein).’ She was just excited and told me to take it in. I said, ‘I’ll try.’

Doerr is having a good final year with the Wildcats. He started the season with a slight injury, and only saw time as the holder on kicks against Missouri State. But he has looked strong punting the ball ever since. This week he was nice enough to talk about all that and more.

Your special teams coach, Sean Snyder, is one of the best punters in K-State history. Do you admire that?

I knew exactly how good he was. His name is on the stadium. He was a consensus all-american and on the ring of honor. I look up to that and would love to be there one day. He’s my coach, but I want to beat him and be better than him. But that’s a lofty goal, because he was such a great punter.

So you don’t mind pursuing high goals?

I want to be the best, I do. I work really hard at what I do and try to be the best. My expectations for myself are very high. What I want to achieve is very high. It just takes a lot of working hard every day, even when it gets a little repetitive. You still have to do it.

How well did you play against Oklahoma?

I think it was a good step. I still think I could have done better in my performance, especially in my first couple punts. I think it is definitely a step, and it’s a good one.

Do you get anything for winning Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week?

I don’t know. I got my name in the paper. That’s good enough.

You were injured at the start of the season. Are you feeling better now?

Yeah, I feel good now. I’m back at it.

When did you feel 100 percent?

I came back that Miami game and thought everything felt normal enough for me to go out and do what I needed to do. I just felt good.

What was your injury?

I had a little tweak in my leg.

As a punter, do you want to punt a lot and show off your leg? Or would you rather only punt once a game, because that means the offense is playing well?

I’m OK with whatever position I am put during the game. If it’s punting 10 times like vs. Texas last year then that’s fine with me. If it’s punting once at the end against Miami that’s fine too. As long as the team is doing well and we are all in good spirits and we keep getting better each week I’m fine with that.

Do you ever get bored when you aren’t punting?

I love football too much. I’m out there working on my stuff and then I’ll just watch practice. I love the game.

You have a front-row seat.

Best seat in the house.

You are also the team’s holder on field goals. Is that a hard job?

My redshirt year here, my whole freshman year, it probably took me the whole entire time to become a decent holder. My freshman year, I struggled. I bobbled those two snaps at UCLA and bobbled one at Louisiana-Lafayette. It was a pretty difficult change, because I had never done it before.

Is that something you volunteered for?

I got thrown into the position, but I was happy to do it.

Who threw you into it?

Our special teams coach. But I love it. Me and Anthony (Cantele) spend so much time together, it’s just second nature now. I trust him and he trusts me.

Are you an expert at holding now?

If I am, then it took a whole lot of practice. There’s a lot to it, just getting comfortable. You are scrunched up down on the ground in this weird position, and you’ve got to put the ball down on the spot where you are holding my hand. A lot of times I miss my spot and I know it’s my fault because the ball is way, way off. You’ve got to be quick and move fast and have sure hands. It takes a lot of concentration and practice. You need a feeling of comfort when you do it.

Last question, do you have any NFL aspirations?

I think every college kid has aspirations to go to the next level, and I certainly do. I definitely want to. I’m going to try my best to get there. But if it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out. It’s hard to get there.

Do you have a backup plan?

Hopefully I can take Sean’s job one day if the NFL doesn’t work out.