BYU Spring Football: 20 Questions with punter Jonny Linehan – Daily Herald
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We usually do “20 Questions” during fall camp with an offensive player first, followed by a defensive player the next day. But we thought with a new coaching staff, it might be beneficial to have a spring “20 Questions” too.
This time we decided to go with a special teams player: senior punter Jonny Linehan.
What, specifically, are Linehan’s qualifications?
“We watch a lot,” is what he told us.
Fair enough. Truthfully, special teams guys watch a lot of practice and we figured Linehan would have keen observation powers.
We were right.
Plus, Linehan is from New Zealand and the former All-American rugby player has a very interesting perspective on life and football.
So here is the spring version of “20 Questions,” your best way to get to know the fellas that will be your 2016 BYU football team.
DH: Who’s the fastest player on the team?
JL: “That’s up for debate, but I think it’s cornerback Mike Davis. He can fly.”
DH: “Who’s the craziest player on the team?” (The Justin Leutgerodt Award)
JL: “Besides me?”
JL: “Let me think about this … Probably safety Kai Nacua. Everything he does is 100 percent, on the field or listening to music in the locker room. He’s pretty out there but it’s a good crazy.”
DH: “Who’s the most talented in something other than football?”
JL: “Besides me again? I’m very humble but I need to tell people that. Just kidding. Ricky Shumway is one of our receivers. We tease him with ‘You’re really athletic for someone who doesn’t look athletic.’ We mean it as a full compliment. He’s a really good basketball player, just a freak of an athlete. Last fall camp he made a one-handed catch that got lot of views. Who knows? Maybe this is year he breaks out of the cage. He’s super talented at anything he does.”
DH: “Who’s the smartest player on the team? (The Matt Bauman Award)
JL: “That one’s NOT me. I’ll go with linebacker Austin Heder. We’re in the finance program together. I feel like I study harder than he does but he has a knack for school. He’s super, super smart. He’ll probably be an apostle one day.”
DH: “Who’s the smoothest with the ladies?”
JL: “I’ll have to go with running back Jamaal Williams on that one. He’s pretty smooth with everything. Talking to the ladies is just like water off a duck’s back for him.”
DH: “Who THINKS he’s smoothest with the ladies?”
JL: “Probably quarterback Koy Detmer.”
(Editor’s note: Later, Linehan sent a DM with a change to this one)
JL: “I have had an epiphany and NEED to change my answer to the question about who thinks they are smoothest with the ladies. It’s a no brainer! Defensive back Trevor Brent. He thinks he has game and tries hard but to no avail.”
DH: “Who do you think will make a good head coach someday?”
JL: “Defensive back Chris Badger. He’s super football educated. He has a great football mind.”
DH: “Who’s the biggest trash talker?”
JL: “It has to be one of the DB’s or wide receivers. If they see this they might be after me, so I have to be careful. I would say redshirt freshman receiver Akili Davis talks a lot. Wait! I’ve got to change my answer to running back Squally Canada. He can back it up but he talks the most trash.”
DH: “Who’s the quietest player on the team?”
JL: “Probably Parker Dawe, one of our centers. He gets the job done. He’s a quiet assassin.”
DH: “Who’s the best dancer on the team?” (The Ben “Mongoose” Criddle Award)
JL: “I won the dance competition in Las Vegas. But we have some good dancers. Defensive tackle Travis Tuiloma is a good dancer. He’s a big guy that can boogie. He has some good moves. He can do the robot.”
DH: “Who’s the worst dancer on the team?”
JL: “Probably one of the whiter folks. Long snapper Matt Foley, probably.”
DH: “Who drives the ugliest car?” (The JD Falslev Award)
JL: “I don’t know a lot of people with cars. They all have nice cars, little rich boys here.”
DH: “Who’s the best video game player?”
JL: “Oh, now we’re talking. I’d have to say Koy Detmer. He’s a great gamer and everyone knows it. I haven’t played him in ‘FIFA’ yet, so we’ll see.”
DH: “Who’s the best dressed?”
JL: “I walk around school in basketball shorts, one sock missing and a tank top, so I’m messed up. Everything I wear is athletic issue. I could only come (flying from New Zealand) with my suitcase at 45 pounds. I will say I like quarterback Tanner Mangum’s style.”
DH: “Who’s got the messiest locker?”
JL: “It would have to be offensive lineman Jaterrius Gulley. We’ve all seen it. One time I saw it and I started to vomit. It was pretty bad.”
DH: “Who’s the go-to guy for movie quotes?”
JL: “I’ll go with Corey Edwards, one of our kickers.”
DH: “Who’s the best looking?” (The Matt Berry Award)
JL: “Now we’re bordering on dangerous territory here. I’ll give credit where credit is due. We’re looking at skin tone, muscle definition, the eyes … I have done individual analysis but I’d need my scrapbook to go through. (He’s kidding). Quarterback Taysom Hill, he’s a good-looking guy who has everything going for him. (Since Hill is married, we venture into single territory) Let’s pick a single guy. Let’s see … single, good looking, not engaged … that’s rare at BYU. We’ll have to come back to that one.”
DH: “Who does the best Kalani Sitake impression?”
JL: “You know, last year we would do impressions before each game with no coaches around. There were some guys who did some good Coach (Steve) Kaufusi impressions. But the best Kalani, I would say offensive lineman Lui Lapuaho. He’s pretty outspoken. And he does the most trash talking, now that I think about it.”
DH: “Who’s the most likely to pull an elaborate prank?”
JL: “There are a bunch of guys that would be pretty good at that. I will say linebacker Harvey Langi. He will one day pull a prank and set a house on fire.”
DH: “Who’s the funniest?”
“All my teammates are pretty funny. To me they’re the ones who have the accent. It’s nice because I come over here and people ask me, ‘How many languages do you speak?’ And I say, ‘New Zealand, Australian, English and American.’ So I’m fluent in four languages. The funniest is probably one of the Polynesian boys. I’ll say linebacker Butch Pau’u. He’s kind of just funny naturally. He tells some jokes but you can never tell if he’s serious or not. Plus, he laughs at my jokes and not many people do.”
(Finding a roster, Linehan goes back to the best looking single guy question)
JL: “I could put in a plug for my boy here, Rhett Almond, the punter, but that would be blatantly not true. I don’t want to lie to you. So I would say it’s a tie, in my opinion, between safeties Gavin Fowler and Micah Hannemann. They’re both pretty smooth.”