CORAL GABLES, Fla. — A month ago, the University of Miami football team held media availability just as the summer rolled around.
Much of the talk surrounded the quarterback battle between Stephen Morris and Ryan Williams as well as Mike James’s chance to shine at running back.
As an alumna who covered the team when Matt Bosher (kicker/punter/tackler extraordinaire) won MVP one season, I thought it would be interesting to talk to the current punter.
Senior Dalton Botts transferred from Moorpark Community College by way of Bakersfield College, where he was the quarterback and punter. Last season — his first — with the Canes, he averaged 42.7 yards per kick, which was second best in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Following up the first-ever segment of “Random Questions” with Marlins reliever Steve Cishek is Botts.
CD: Why number 13?
DB: It was my second choice, and now that I look at it, they say it’s ‘Friday the 13th’ and stuff like that, [that] it’s a bad number. I like it. It’s a good number.
CD: What was your first choice?
DB: Seventeen. [smiles] I didn’t know Stephen.
CD: When you’re not on the football field or practicing in the Hecht area, where are we most likely to find you?
DB: Either on the couches or at my locker talking to the other players. Just hanging out, drinking Gatorade.
CD: You transferred. What was your “Welcome to the U” moment?
DB: When I was in the hotel room on my official visit and I woke up and there was a huge cookie that said “Welcome to the U family.” The cookie was delicious. When I got that, I actually saved it. I went home and took a picture.
CD: Do you remember your first memory of watching football?
DB: When I was growing up I loved Brett Favre. I played quarterback my whole life. I always looked up to him and his strong arm. He led the team very well and got stuff done.
CD: Do you have a background in soccer? How did you get into punting?
DB: I never played soccer. It was actually kind of random ’cause I punted my senior year of high school. I would just stand 10 yards and catch the ball, and if I could run, I’d run. If not, I’d just kick the ball. It wasn’t anything serious until my second year in JUCO. I was told I could kick the ball pretty well and then I kept trying. I ended up getting a scholarship.
CD: You’re from California. What’s the biggest misconception about the state?
DB: That everyone is a bunch of hippies and stuff like that. Everyone’s so chill in Cali. Everyone lives near the beach. I’m two hours away from the beach [in Taft]. It’s actually not that bad of a drive.
CD: What’s the biggest difference between California and Florida?
DB: It’s flat. There’s no hills out here.
CD: Have you been to one of the baseball games at UM? The milkshakes…
DB: No. That’s what I’ve been told. I missed out on the milkshakes. I’ll just wait until next time if I’m here.
Note: When this interview was conducted, it didn’t seem like the baseball team would host an NCAA Regional. No word on whether Botts went to one of the games and had a milkshake.