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.
Responses have been edited for length and clarity.
Now there are two foosball tables out here. Is this a friendly competition? Is it bitter now? How are you?
Garibay: “No, it was great. It was great. Lirim (Hajrullahu), he is also a veterinarian. I’m just looking forward to learning from him and Jake (McQuaide) and Bryan (Anger). They’ve been great out here so far.”
You know, foosball decides the outcome of games. Quarterbacks often do that too. Quarterbacks get paid $40 million a year for that. When do you think kickers will reach that number?
Garibay: “Hopefully sooner rather than later. We will see.”
You just shared 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 what the difference is now.
Garibay: “I grew up with soccer for most of my childhood, and when I got into middle school I was still a big soccer player and a lot of my middle school friends wanted to try for the soccer team, you know, the following year, in first year, and they said, ‘Hey, man, come try out with us and keep the group together. And I was like, alright, you know, I’ll do it. I don’t even look at it. But okay. So I gave it a go, you know, I probably played running back and linebacker that summer I think and then we had kicking tryouts. Our coach gathered the whole team in midfield and everyone wanted to kick the ball. I thought I was playing football, it can’t be that difficult. As soon as I kicked the ball. The coach just looks at the ball and whistles. He’s like, ‘Okay, we found a guy. He grabs me by the face mask and says, ‘Son, you’re going to kick for the next four years.'”
Was that the first time you kicked a soccer ball?
Was it a kickoff or were you trying to kick a field goal?
Garibay: “Kickoff. And over time I was able to learn the technique and stuff. But it was just a kickoff and I was like, ‘I just have to go far.’ That’s all I’ve done and I think it’s worked out so far.”
As you progressed, it only kicks the ball? Or is there something different?
Garibay: “I mean, you can’t overcomplicate it. But at the end of the day you just have to do kicks. But going through that process when I became, I think, a junior in high school, I really learned the technique of alignment and stuff. I just used it for myself and whatever worked for me. At the end of the day, it’s like everything else. The more you put in, the more you get out. I just put my work in and that was it.”
How do you try to keep that same attitude between a kick in the first quarter and five seconds from the end, that this is going to determine the outcome? Because no matter how hard I try, the first inning and the ninth inning, there’s a different meaning.
Garibay: “At the end of the day you just have to be one on one. You have to have this attitude. It’s not about going 30 to 30, 40 to 40. The goal at the end of the season or whatever. Every step is different. Every kick has its own little thing. Just go one by one. That’s it.”
Do the posts feel smaller when you’re farther away? Or do you have to tell yourself no, it’s the same size?
Garibay: “I really don’t think about that. Honestly. One thing that completely changed my perspective when you come back. This recently happened while I was working out. John Carney, he’s a coach from San Diego. He performed in the league for a time. He just said to me, ‘Garibay, when I kick, I don’t even look at that post anymore. I’m just looking at the alley.” Because the posts are the same width as the hashes in the post. So he says, ‘Just shove it in the alley.’ And that’s it. But it was a great tip. And you know, at the end of the day, you just trust alignment. And when you’re properly aligned, just kick the ball straight away. The ball should follow that line.”
How many times did I have to make a tackle at Texas Tech?
Garibay: “Training? I met a bunch of guys at practice. 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 excited but then nobody was there to get the ball so they got it back.”
What are some of the fun games you play with the other kickers or with yourself?
Garibay: “What we actually did yesterday was we went to the sidelines and as you get closer to the end zone the posts get slimmer from the side. So we played this game and tried to make it from there. Because it limits it, we played this game. We used to do that in college or play ping. But you didn’t have to kick it out of the hash, you could kick anywhere on the field. It just stays interesting.”
When warming up before a game, how quickly do you know your distance? How’s the conversation?
Garibay: “Usually we’ve done it so before you start training, you get a feel for your reach and kick both ways. Then do the same at halftime. You kick both ways and see what the wind is doing. You give Coach your reach. I did it that way.”
How far have you made a field goal downwind in Lubbock?
Garibay: “We kicked it inside. I mean I hit 67, 68. I think I probably hit a 70 outside, maybe with a little breeze. I did it once in junior college before I left. I was training to go to tech and I was like, guess what? Let me test my range. There was a bit of cross wind and I just rode. I tried it once and thought I wouldn’t do it again.”
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