Within the first few weeks, freshman kicker Joey Slye found himself fitting in with his new teammates. But it wasn't with his fellow kickers, it was with the rest of the team.
Slye bench presses 325 pounds, more than a number of the rest of the team. But since establishing his weightlifting, Slye has found himself fitting in with his fellow kickers and his coach, Frank Beamer, too.
And that's a good thing with an ongoing battle for the starting kicker spot. Slye has put himself in good position, along with incumbents Michael Branthover, Eric Kristensen and Mitchell Ludwig. And aside from Slye, there's freshmen Carson Wise and Michael Santamaria.
Beamer, though, might have been his biggest adjustment.
"In high school, if you can kick well, then the coaches kinda leave you alone," Slye said. "They don't really touch anything. I work with a kicking coach, Paul Woodside, but having (Beamer) as kind of a living legend, behind you, the first couple of days I did have that 'Beamer jitter,' where you're like, 'holy crap, Beamer's right behind me.' Now, he jokes around and laughs with us and all that stuff. It's fun to have him there and now, you just kinda feel comfortable with him and all that stuff."
Slye is also competing against a few kickers, like Branthover and Santamaria, who are on scholarship. But given Virginia Tech's history with walk-ons, Slye has been able to play without worry, which could help him this fall, if he's awarded the starting position.
"When I was looking at other programs, I was like, I might be behind the eight-ball, just because if we're neck and neck, they're gonna give it to the scholarship kicker," Slye said. "But here, of the people who came to Tech, you have people like Jack Tyler and Sam Rogers, they're walk-ons and they earned their job. I just need to make sure I do my job to the best of my ability and if I end up winning, I'm pretty sure they're gonna make a decision about a walk-on. They're not gonna be afraid to go against a scholarship kid."
Below is Slye's full interview with the media yesterday:
Click Here to view this video.