ATHENS – Place-kickers are known to be quirky. Rodrigo Blankenship was asked Wednesday if he was embracing that, or if he was really quirky in general.
He laughed. Then he turned serious. Sort of.
“I’d say I’m pretty weird in general,” Blankenship said. “I am wearing a helmet right now.”
Indeed he was, much to everyone’s delight. Four days earlier Georgia’s place-kicker became a viral sensation by kicking four field goals, including the game-winner to beat Kentucky – and then doing his postgame television interview with his helmet still on.
“I wasn’t thinking. I just caught up in the moment,” Blankenship said.
Then when Blankenship came up for post-practice interviews on Wednesday, he brought his helmet, thinking he’d do it again. At first a team spokesman laughed and told him not to. But then he relented, and what ensued was a nine-minute interview session done entirely with Blankenship’s helmet on.
Rodrigo Blankenship during interviews on Wednesday. (SETH EMERSON/AJC).
And of course his “rec specs,” the black glasses he always wears during practices and games. Since Saturday he’s become the feel-good story of the team; Blankenship said his followers on Twitter and Instagram have gone up by more than 1,000 since the Kentucky game.
“He’s just a likable guy,” senior left tackle Tyler Catalina said. “He’s funny around the locker room.”
Blankenship did clarify that he has never slept in his helmet. He also said several times that the quirkiness stops when the football begins.
“When we’re not practicing and we’re not in the football segment of the day, it’s real fun,” he said. “But once two o’clock hits and we’re in practice mode, we’re in meetings modes, it’s all serious, it’s all business.”
Blankenship also addressed about his father’s comments earlier in the week; Ken Blankenship said earlier this week that his son would transfer if a commitment wasn’t made to putting him on scholarship.
Rodrigo Blankenship was asked if his father spoke for him, and if that was the case that he would leave if he didn’t get a scholarship. He thought a moment before answering.
“My father and I have had discussions about our financial situation,” Blankenship said. “But I’m just trying to focus on the things that I can control right now.”
Smart, asked about it Monday, said those decisions are made at the end of the year. Blankenship said he was taking the scholarship situation in stride.
“I just need to take each week one week at a time,” he said. “I just want to focus on the aspects of my life that I can control, and that’s just trying to kick as well as I can on a daily basis and kick as well as I can on Saturdays.”
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