Nov. 26, 2013
Jeff Strait stopped by to talk to UMassAthletics.com about what the redshirt-senior punter and holder likes most about the University of Massachusetts and what sport he would play if he did not compete for the Minutemen, which may surprise you.
Tell us a bit about why you decided to attend the University of Massachusetts:
When I made my decision to attend the University of Massachusetts about five years ago I was looking at a bunch of different schools. While looking at a few others, UMass jumped into the mix with them. I visited and, when I did, I enjoyed the school and got along with everyone who was here. That really helped me make the decision that UMass would be the right place for me.
What is the most important or impressive thing about your position coach, Ted Daisher?
Coach Daisher knows more about special teams than I thought was possible to know about all of the positions and how they work together to be successful unit. He coached in the NFL, so he knows what needs to be done at the highest levels of competition to be successful and he makes everything clear and concise for us.
How would you describe yourself as a player and a person?
In both aspects of life, playing and everything you do away from the field, I am a hardworking individual. I am down-to-earth and am thankful for everything I have been given. I love my friends and family and would do anything for them.
What is something about yourself that most people don't know?
I have a twin brother. He is in the Army and finished up training in Missouri not too long ago.
You're sporting a pretty serious beard. What is the longest you've grown that out?
If you didn't play football which sport would you be playing right now?
Right now, this is as long as I have ever grown it. I do not have any plans to cut it just yet. I thought about maybe cutting it back earlier this year, but now I am just playing it by ear. I didn't even plan on growing it out to this length really - I just decided not to shave and this is what came out of that.
Volleyball without a doubt. I have played before and when I did I was a setter and opposite hitter, so I would definitely still be playing volleyball if I were not competing for the Minutemen.
What about a different position in football? Ever think about trying your hand at another spot?
Growing up I pretty much stuck to being a punter and just stayed with that because I had success at it, but watching the other guys play, they make being a safety or a linebacker look fun.
What's your favorite game or reality TV show?
Duck Dynasty. If I could be on that show I'd want [strength and conditioning coach] Mike Golden and [redshirt-senior linebacker] Tom Brandt on the line with me. I know Coach Golden can hunt and I can make a good duck call. Being from Pennsylvania that's where I've done most of my hunting. I do not have my Massachusetts hunting license but I do love to go fishing here during the summer. That has been a lot of fun.
What is the best advice you've been given, by a coach or otherwise?
That it's all about working hard. If you make a mistake, do not let that mistake you made impact the next play or your next decision. Don't let it define what you do next. In football, you have to brush off whatever happened prior and just play in the present.