Monday, 13 May 2013

Interview with Detroit Lions Kicker Harvard "Kickalicious" Rugland

Harvard Rugland became an internet sensation after his video "Kickalicious" went viral and launched him into fame. Since then he has tried out for NFL teams and is currently a member of the Detroit Lions rookie class.

Here are some quotes from his recent media session:

On how he has enjoyed Detroit so far: “Pretty good. Teammates, club, everybody’s really nice. Had a great time so far, so I’m enjoying myself.”

On how he got the nickname “Kickalicous:” That was actually my cousin. At first, we made half the movie and he just tacked on Kickalicious. We talked about it and we said, ‘Well, call it Kickalicous.’ We didn’t think too much of it, but it stands out.”

On if he was nervous about participating in rookie mini-camp: “Yeah, I’m excited. Of course, you need to perform on a high level, but I’ve been kicking for a little while now. So, I feel pretty confident. But of course, you always have some nerves. But that’s good.”

On his original workout with the Lions: “It was a pretty standard workout. We started with a sideline drill where we kicked from the side, went over to field goals and then ended it with kickoffs.”

On his teammates’ reactions to his video: “They think it’s funny. It’s a little bit of a different story, but they laugh about it and call me Kickalicious. They’re really nice.”

On what has been the most difficult part of the transition to American football: “You always have to work on your consistency. But I feel like I handle the snap and hold pretty good, but still can do progress in that area. I’ll do my best to try to keep getting better.”

On why he didn’t work out (while in San Diego with Michael Husted) with a helmet to get used to wearing one: “I thought about it, but I didn’t do it. I’ve got a pretty big head, so it’s not something you can just throw me and I’ll use it. You need at least an XL helmet.”

On if wearing a helmet affects his balance as a kicker: “No, I kicked inside yesterday, and it felt pretty good. I didn’t have any problems with it. It was almost easier to kick. From soccer, your head pretty often follows the football and I’m trying to keep my head down. So, it almost helped me out a little bit.”

On how much American football he has watched and if he knows the rules: “I know I can’t tell you every rule, but I know the basics. I watched the playoffs this year and watched a few games when I was in San Diego before I got over here. I’ve watched a few games.”

On how many reps it took make some of his trick shot kicks: “All different. The last one was eight. It’s all about margins. You can do it in two, you can do it in 25. You never know. But a lot of those went pretty fast, and then a few you had to work a little bit on.”

On which trick took the most reps to complete: “I think actually the basketball hoop because I kept hitting the rim and I wanted it to go straight in. That’s a lot of work. It looks a lot better when it goes straight in. I could have easily been 40 (reps).”

On the longest field goal he has ever made: “It doesn’t feel like it counts when you don’t have the snap and the hold and you don’t have the NFL football. I’ll tell you in a few weeks.”

On how long he has played soccer: “From when I was five or six to when I was 26.”

On the reception from his friends in Norway: “They like it. I’ve gotten a lot of support from back home. They don’t know very much about American football, but it’s actually growing, like the interest. So, really positive.”

On how he came up with the idea to make the video: “I wanted the opportunity to show my skills. That would’ve been good, but I had no idea that it would end up like this. I was lucky I got the opportunity and performed well. Here I am.”

On if he ever thought he would be playing American football: “If you would have asked me like two weeks before I made the video, nope.”

On the initial public reaction to his video: “I had a few rugby clubs contacting me, but not like high-level. Started off with a few colleges from the States and suddenly the New York Jets contacted me. So, the last three months I’ve been around and luckily I got picked up by the Lions.”

On how many NFL teams tried out for: “Three. Jets, Browns, Lions.

On if he had any offers from those teams: “I had other tryouts lined up, but I was really happy to sign with the Lions.”

On if he grew up learning English in Norway: “Yeah, you have it in school, but mostly from music and movies. You start pretty early in like third grade and start learning English. You get the basics down.”

On if he thinks people take him seriously: “I’m really serious about it and I’m doing my best to get better every day. I think there are a lot of people wanting a spot on an NFL team, so you have to perform well. They wouldn’t sign me if they didn’t see something in me like talent or potential. So, I’m going to do my best and I’m really positive.”

On if he is used to having a holder on his kicks: “It’s not all new. I’ve done it for a while, so I feel pretty comfortable. It’s not too big of a problem.”

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