Two days after getting praise from around the conference, the Bruins' kicker met with the media over Zoom.
UCLA football kicker Nicholas Barr-Mira spoke on receiving the Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week award for his performance against Arizona on Saturday. Barr-Mira also detailed the decision-making process on his range before each game, as well as what he expects the impact of the rain, wind and cold against Washington this weekend.
Reaction to getting Pac-12 Special Teams POTW award?
It was very humbling and it's cool to be honored. The first thing you think about is your teammates and your coaches, they're the ones who put you in that position to get that honor, so my name's on the award, but it's really, it's Jack the snapper, it's the whole O-line, Ethan the holder, coaches, coach Will, coach Sage, really the whole special teams unit. We all work together all week, so it's cool to get honored as yourself, but it's really a whole unit honor. I hope everybody knows it's a team thing, it's not about me, but it was a very cool, humbling experience.
Importance of winning special teams phase?
Oh it's huge, it's huge. As you said, kicking, specifically with points, that impacts for sure, and then kickoff, punt, punt return, kickoff return, all those impact field position and that's such an important stat, the hidden yards stat. And all that goes into that, fundamentals really show up, scheme shows up, we have a really good one, so it's definitely key to emphasize kicking strengths.
Prepare for rain, wind, cold of Seattle?
So I'm preparing this week the same way I prepare every other week. Can't really control the weather, so can't do too much about it. I don't think it will impact us too much, you really, you get out there before the game, you'll do your warmup, go through your routine, see what's working, what's not working, might need to make some adjustments on the spot, but other than that, there's not too much you can do, not really much you want to do, you kind of just stay in the same routine, just be consistent.
Experience kicking wet balls?
I have. It's funny, during spring, it's really cloudy and kinda dewey in the mornings and the kickers are the first people who go out there during practice, so that's kind of an opportunity for us to practice kicking with wet balls. And then some games in the past, we've played in some similar conditions at away games, so I've had experience kicking with wet balls, kicking in the cold, all that, but there's not really too much you can do to compare, but that is my experience with it.
Figured out your cap in game?
In terms of range, just really a week-to-week, game-by-game situation, every Saturday's different. Sometimes conditions such as weather may play a factor, your preparation in the week, how you feel that day, all sorts of different things play into that, so I feel comfortable with the distances I've said in the past and really wherever coach sends me out there to go kick a field goal, that's what I'll do. If he sends me out there for a long one, I'm gonna hit a long one. If he keeps sending me out there for the short ones, I'll hit the short ones. So it's really a week-to-week, kind of game-by-game type of thing.
Husky Stadium unique venue because of rain + turf + wild from lake?
Right. So I've actually never been to Washington myself, I've never played there in that stadium, so I'm not sure what it will be like. I've heard it's a very exciting environment, I've heard different things – it can get windy, it can get cold, the rain may play a factor – but at the end of the day, we can't control any of that, you just go out there and do what you've been doing in the past for the entire season. So because we can't control the conditions, we try not to focus on them too much, just go out there and do what we do.
Kicked near a body of water before?
I don’t think I have. I’m not sure I’ve ever kicked next to a lake like that.
Process for determining range on game-by-game basis?
So it’s really how I feel after my warmup. I’ll go talk to a couple different coaches on the staff, talk about how I feel, also about how my snapper and holder feel, how Jack and Ethan feel, how we feel as a unit because we are a unit after all, it’s not just how I’m kicking off the sticks in warmup. So that’s kind of the routine every game, have those conversations, make adjustments when adjustments need to be made but yeah, that’s kind of what we do to determine where we’re comfortable from that day.
That info gets up to coach Kelly?
Ultimately, yeah, he makes the decision on whether we’re kicking field goals are not, so.
Range in ideal conditions?
I can’t say how far he would send me out. I feel comfortable from 50-plus, but like I said, it’s really a game by game, day by day, week by week kind of a deal.
Feel like you've extended your range since getting to UCLA?
Journey at UCLA from walk-on to the pinnacle of Pac-12 Special Teams POTW?
I came in as a walk-on, knew I probably wasn’t going to play my freshman year, we had J.J., he was a three-year starter, going on four years at that point, really talented kicker and then my attitude was just come in, work hard every day, do what I’m told, work on my fundamentals, work on my technique, just listen to all the advice that I’m given and just trust in the process and everything else will take care of itself. It’s definitely a day by day journey, nothing that you can really — you don’t want to look too far into the future, just focus on what you can control and everything else will take care of itself. At the end of the day, you’re competing against yourself. It’s not really about who they have to compete with you, all these other outside circumstances. It’s been a fun time and I definitely couldn’t have done it without my teammates, my coaches, my family, all those around me supporting me, giving me the confidence that I need and just helping me and being with me and guiding me. It’s really a credit to all of them because they’ve lifted me and allowed me to come into this role so I hope to just continue getting better, continue making kicks on Saturdays.
On scholarship now?
I’m not, I’m still a walk-on.
Hear from Anthony Barr about that guidance and advice?
I do, yeah, I do talk to Anthony. He’s definitely very supportive of me, gives me a lot of advice and he’s always there for me.