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Kickin' back | Connor Barth

Kickin' back with Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Connor Barth

All I think I know about you is that you're from Wilmington, N.C., which I believe is Michael Jordan's hometown, right?

Yes. He's from Laney High School. That's our big rival. I went to Hoggard. In basketball, Hoggard is the powerhouse now. But when he was there, supposedly he was cut from the team (at Laney). That's really the claim to fame for Wilmington.

So, you'll never be Wilmington's most famous son, even if you go to the Hall of Fame?

No. And think about it: We have Sonny Jurgensen, Trot Nixon (former Red Sox outfielder), Alge Crumpler (Titans tight end), Roman Gabriel (1969 NFL MVP). There are really some athletes that have come out of Wilmington. People don't know. I'm way, way down the list.

I understand you used to do some surfing down on the coast. Is that true?

Yes, but I haven't done it much since I went off to (college). But when I was home in high school, when I was a senior, we'd get out of school at 2 o'clock, and I'd shoot right down to the beach. It was a lot of fun. I lived five minutes from the beach, and, when I was younger, I used to wear board shorts to school and we'd go right after school. Shoot, sometimes we'd go before school. We were pretty serious about it. … Surfing is something I can do, but I'm not as good at it as I used to be because I'm like 30 pounds heavier. My boards don't float me as well as they used to.

I always ask: What is playing the most on your iPod these days? What about you?

I just got one. This is going to sound so crazy. I listen to a lot of stuff. I just bought the new Jay-Z CD, The Blueprint 3. But I listen to a lot. I'm pretty open-minded. I listen to a lot of Taylor Swift. I'm a big fan. In fact, if she reads this, I'm a big fan. She needs to come down to Tampa. I can get her tickets to a game maybe. I like her stuff. She's got a really nice voice. … I'm a big country fan — Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Kenny Chesney, all those guys. But there's some good hip-hop I like, too.

The other stock question I ask is what Web site do you visit most?

Facebook, definitely.

How many friends do you have?

Over 2,500. And half of them I don't even know. When you're in college, you just accept everybody's request and don't even think about it. But now, I've had to change things. On my wall, you can't post anything anymore. You can't look at my pictures. I'm just trying to be a little more private. Especially after last week's game. If I would have had my wall open, people would have been just posting out of control. It's kind of not private anymore. The other site I look at is ESPN. Every day.

Since you went to North Carolina, are you a college basketball fan?

I have become more of a college basketball fan. I'm biased a little bit because of the Carolina tradition with football. We don't get quite the respect the basketball program does. They just landed the No. 1 recruit in the nation. They just rebuild every year. They're a powerhouse. But now that I'm out of school, I kind of have that sense of pride from Carolina. So, any time they're playing, I'll be watching. I have a couple friends still on the team. Now that I'm gone, I bleed Carolina blue.

Wide receivers do dances; running backs spike the ball. When do kickers get to have some fun?

As a kicker, what I've learned from a lot of the older veterans is to try to fly under the radar as much as I can. We go to practice and leave practice and try not to say too much. I guess right now, I had a big game last week, so I'm kind of not getting to fly under the radar as much as I'd like. For a week, it'll be fun to kind of get out there and show people what I'm about. But after I hit a field goal, the biggest thing is to thank my holder and snapper and all the other linemen for blocking. It's a team game. They go out there and work so hard to get me down there. I just want to help this team as much as possible. The main thing for me is to high-five and shake hands to thank those guys.

I've heard a lot of kickers are superstitious. Does that include you?

Not really. During my senior year in college, I wore the same socks for every game. I know one week, I played down in South Florida, and I had a huge hole in the back of my sock. And people were handing me $20 bills telling me to go get some new socks. Fans always try to heckle you when you're down on the sidelines warming up with the net. But now that I'm in the pros, all I do is tie my shoes right before I go on the field for every kick. Other than that, I really don't have many superstitions.

You can't turn on the TV without seeing some kind of reality show. Are you into any reality shows?

Not really. I try to stay away from that stuff. One show I do love is Entourage. It's kind of reality, I guess. Real World is kind of fun to watch sometimes, but it just gets so out of control (and) over the top. Now, would House Hunters be considered reality TV? I love HGTV. That's one of my favorite shows.

Are you an interior decorator at heart? Why the affinity for HGTV?

I just enjoy it. I don't have my real estate license, but down the road, I might want to get it. I'm interested in just looking at different houses and seeing what's out there. That's why I think it's a cool little show.

Fast facts

Connor Barth

Position: Kicker

Age: 23

Height, weight: 5 feet 11, 193 pounds

College: North Carolina; converted a school-record 76.1 percent on field goals; made a school-record 19 consecutive field goals from 2005 to 2007.

Pro: Signed by Bucs on Nov. 3; tied NFL record with three field goals of 50 yards or longer in the same game last week at Miami; played 10 games for Chiefs in 2008, converting 10 of 12 field goals.

Kickin' back with Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Connor Barth 11/21/09 [Last modified: Saturday, November 21, 2009 5:29pm]
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