Australian punter Jamie Keehn was a second-team All-SEC pick last season as a junior after averaging 44.9 yards per kick to push his career average to 43.4 yards — third in LSU history. He talks about building on that and the Aussie invasion on American football.
As a senior and third year starting punter, you’ve really picked up American football well. Are you starting to think about an NFL career?
Hopefully, (but) we have 15 games still to play here at LSU. So we’re looking at that and not getting ahead of myself. We had a good season last year punting and we’re looking to improve on that.
What’s your No. 1 goal going into the season?
We don’t want to give away as many yards on returns, even though we pretty much had only one bad game. So it’s more about consistency and seeing what we can do with it, see if we can have the best season we can.
I just want to build on last year and see what happens. If I’m needed to punt the ball, I just want to go out there and do the best job I can do and go from there.
Punters are always striving for more hang time. Is that one of the things you worked hard on this past offseason?
It’s getting better. We’ve improved and we’ve worked on it. Instead of trying to hit those 60-yard balls, we’re going for 50-yarders and go from there.
There was speculation that you may have thought about leaving a year early for a shot at the NFL. Did you consider that at all?
People are always talking about that kind of stuff (on the Internet); they love a good chat. But I never was planning on leaving or anything like that. … I was in no rush to get out of here. I wanted to get another year under my belt and finish up my degree in December.
The influx of Aussie punters is growing. Do you have an idea of how many of your countrymen are kicking in college right now?
There’s a bunch now. Off the top of my head we have guys at Utah, Oregon, Oregon State, Ole Miss, UL-Lafayette, Michigan, Penn State — plenty of the big schools. USC just signed an Aussie. It’s kind of getting out of control (laughing), but it’s good to see guys getting the exposure.
LSU has a freshman, Josh Growden, who could next year be the third Aussie punter in a row behind Brad Wing and yourself. How’s he doing?
He’s good, he’s loving it. He’s got a strong left foot on him and is really consistent, so he’s going to be real good when it comes his time to punt.
Did you keep an eye on the LSU basketball team on its recent trip Down Under?
I kept up with them through Twitter and saw the scores and that. They did pretty good. It was good to see them get the experience to go over there and play against some professional teams.
They took in an Australian rules football game, known as ‘footy’ down there. Didn’t you play that sport before coming to the U.S.?
I played on the amateur level. I only played it for a year and I realized I could kick a ball pretty well, so I thought I’d take up this instead.
-- Sheldon Mickles