Q&A: Bullard shows it’s more than just an extra point

From the perspective of many fans and people outside the football world, being a kicker is an underrated position. They’re only thought of when needed to make a clutch point, or when the team fails to score a touchdown, but are sometimes given the hardest time when not making the kick because the outcome of the entire game depends on them.

For UH kicker Kyle Bullard, it means being a clutch figure and sometimes being the only person to put points on the board for his team. He hasn’t endured the downside of being a kicker, however, or experienced flack from disappointed fans because, as of right now, he is perfect on all attempts this season (12-for-12), leading the American Athletic Conference with 47 points. His 18 straight field goals made have also surpassed former kicker Matt Hogan’s record of 16, including a 51-yard field goal in Thursday’s game, which ties for the fifth longest kick in school history. Bullard’s performance Thursday night earned him the Lou Groza Award Star of the Week as well as the American Athletic Conference’s Special Teams Player of the Week.

The Cougar: Fans called Thursday’s game against UCF a heartbreaking loss. How do you celebrate being so successful individually, leading the conference in points and having a 100 percent rating when the overall team results aren’t the same?

Kyle Bullard: It’s more about celebrating with your teammates. I couldn’t have done any of that without my snapper and my holder and the rest of the guys on the field goal unit, so we’ll all celebrate together. I just do my job, that’s it. To me, it’s not about leading the conference in points or anything like that. I am just trying to help my team so we can be our best and win football games.

Kyle Bullard

Junior kicker Kyle Bullard made all four of his field goals in Thursday’s loss to UCF, accounting for all of UH’s 12 points. Bullard set a personal best and a TDECU Stadium best with a huge 51-yard field goal as part of his three field goals over 40 yards.  |  Justin Tijerina/The Cougar

TC: Is it bittersweet?

KB: It is a little bittersweet because I wish I could kick a couple more field goals and change the outcome, but we can’t control everything. You just get what you get and make the best of it.

TC: Is being a reliable player to secure points for your team exciting for you or is it nerve-racking?

KB: It’s exciting for me, that’s why I do it. It’s fun to go out there and score points. Even backing up the range is exciting for me. Making a field goal and helping my team out and having them be able to rely on me is that much more fun and fulfilling.

TC: To some, the kicker is an undervalued position. What do you say to those who think kickers aren’t as important to a football team?

KB: I think most of them never tried it. It’s definitely overlooked and that’s okay because we work in the background and we’ll do the job. It’s just my job and it’s a lot of fun doing it.

TC: What was the influence behind you becoming a kicker in the first place?

KB: It actually went back to middle school. I played soccer my entire life, and with me not being the biggest guy on the field my mom suggested I try being a kicker and was pretty good at it, so I stuck with it and worked up from there.

TC: Going back to the beginning, what did you initially think your fate would be at the University playing behind Matt Hogan? What were your expectations?

KB: I was expecting to learn and soak up everything from Matt. He was a great role model and definitely set the bar high, so to have him and be behind him and watch and learn from him for two years that was awesome. Once he graduated, I was expecting to get my shot and just be as successful as I could.

TC: You were just offered a full scholarship by Coach Levine in April, had you ever worked a regular job prior?

KB: Yes, I used to do any job I could get. I also worked for my Dad, managing his online website and doing blog stuff — anything that I could get on. It was hard at first — playing sports and working while in school.

TC: What are your goals for the remainder of your time as a Cougar?

KB: My goals are just to stay 100 percent on field goals throughout the whole season, continue to help and benefit my team as much as I can, and keep having expectations higher and higher. I like raising the bar.

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