Nov. 2, 2005
By Kimberley Hoidal
BERKELEY, Calif. - California's senior punter David Lonie is not your typical college football player. Lonie, 26, hails from Palm Beach, Australia, where he was also a star pole vaulter, javelin thrower, soccer player and water polo player. He then was a standout punter and field goal kicker at Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls, Iowa, in 2003 before joining the Golden Bears in 2004. This season, Lonie is averaging 41.2 yards per punt and helping Cal's defense immensely with several punts inside the opponents 20-yard line.
What are you most looking forward to this season?
David Lonie: "This season for me personally, I am looking forward to how the team does. After having such a big season last year, it's just going to be fun to see how far we can go and see if we can play for a national title. Last year, we were basically there and had an opportunity, but things didn't go our way. It's going to be great this year. I'm looking forward to seeing the fans and the crowds being out there. There is a lot of backing behind us this year. I am just really looking forward to the atmosphere and being with the team. And, being involved with a winning team and seeing what we can do."
What are your personal goals you have set for yourself this year?
Lonie: "Last year, I just wanted to get a feel for what it was like playing Division I football. I did reasonably well; I had a lot of punts inside the 20. This year, I am looking to be more consistent and have a strong season punting and kicking off. Then I'm really looking to, after college, to hopefully get a shot at the NFL. Just seeing where I can take my future and to see if I can get a chance to play at the next level."
What has been your biggest highlight so far at California?
Lonie: "Football-wise, I think it's probably the week-in-week-out being able to strut on the field. There wasn't really one certain moment. You are happy anytime you punt to put a ball inside the 20. I actually enjoy, not that it's a good thing, being able to tackle people. I had a chance to tackle a couple of guys. Down at the Arizona game, I got to cut in and knock a guy out of bounds. That is not something I want to be able to do every time, because we are also looking for a nice net punt average. That was fun for me. Some of my finest moments have been getting a clean punt off, with good timing and dropping it inside the 20-yard-line."
What is the best part of being a student-athlete at California?
Lonie: "I think there is a lot to be proud of playing football at Cal. Just the fact of the tradition of the school, you get such a good education here. Athletically, we are just starting to dominate here and we are really on the map, since the football team is doing so well. Coach [Jeff] Tedford has put Cal on the map. It's just fun being at a school like this where you get a good education and you are athletically dominating. It's a good combination of everything being here. Now that we are winning, the fans are starting to support us and I think that's huge. You see some of the teams outside the Pac-10, and they get a lot more recognition than the Pac-10 teams. I think here at Cal, especially now that we are playing good football, the fans are starting to back us and we're progressing forward."
What do you miss most about being away from Australia?
Lonie: "Mostly, I miss my family. It's huge. I only get home once a year for a couple of weeks. When there is a lot going on at home, you miss out on it. I really miss my family. I also miss the fact that I can't run down to the surf and jump in to go for a wave. Also the weather and it's just a different lifestyle there, more laid back. I think that is what I was used to. I think I miss it generally, everything I used to do I don't do as much here. I have been trying to dabble in things here and there of things that are similar to home. But most of all it's missing my family and the atmosphere."
Who is your hero?
Lonie: "I don't have anyone in particular that I admire. I think there are a lot of people I've look up to that have helped me with the path I've taken; getting into school and playing football. Like Mel Free was a big help to me. He played in the NFL for the Cincinnati Bengals, he was a kicker. He really started me out, helped me progress and got me into the whole recruiting scene. David Akers and Darren Bennett, they are kickers and punters in the NFL right now. It's good because I can call on them if I have any questions. They are very supportive. They just have played a part in my progression through college and onto the next level."
How are kickoffs going this season?
Lonie: "I try my best to stay consistent. With kickoffs it's all about consistency, you need to be approximate and get it up. If you stay consistent, you'll get the ball deep."