FOXBOROUGH, Mass., -- Leftovers from a media interview with personable rookie punter Zoltan Mesko from the second day of rookie minicamp practice at Gillette Stadium:
Why he made the switch from jersey 6 to 14. Mesko was originally issued jersey number 6 by the Patriots, but when he took the field for minicamp, he donned 14. Why the late switch? “I was 41 in college and just wanted a mirror image,” he said.
How he started playing football. Mesko recalled the story of how he was introduced to football. He was in the eighth grade and playing kickball in gym class when he knocked out one of the lights. Mesko was then told “you’re either going to play football or pay for that light”, so Mesko went out for the team. “Sometimes luck is part of it,” he said, smiling.
One-on-one coaching new to him. Mesko said his time at rookie minicamp was more drill-oriented than what he experienced at Michigan. “I didn’t really have a punting coach in college. Really, the kickers were coaching each other,” he said. “Now, I have a coach and can pick his brain. Coach [Scott] O’Brien is excellent at keeping me task-oriented, and doing the right tasks to improve me.”
Holding on field goals. Mesko, a left-footed punter, also spent time during minicamp working as a holder on field-goal attempts. He had held on field goals at Michigan as well. The Patriots generally like to have their punters as holders, because it maximizes practice time as the punter and kicker are most often together. The other option would be a quarterback.