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10 questions with Brantly


It's easy to draw comparisons between rookie punter Justin Brantly and Shane Lechler, the former Texas A&M and current All-Pro punter for the Raiders who was selected in the fifth round of the 2000 draft. Both Brantly and Lechler were Aggie standouts, and Brantly never averaged less than 43 yards per punt in four years at A&M. His 45.7-yard average as a senior put him among the national leaders and earned him first-team All-Big 12 honors.Now, he is getting his shot with in the NFL with the Texans.

1. How did OTAs go for you?

"It's definitely a big change from college to the NFL with the pace of the game and the speed of the guys. I've been trying to get adjusted to that. There's also a big difference in the training and what takes place in the weight room and the meeting rooms. The first couple of days I had to get adjusted to the system, but I've also had a great time in OTAs learning from the veterans like Kris Brown and Matt Turk. When I sit with them, I try to soak up everything like a sponge. Those guys have been doing this for a long time, so they are doing a lot right. Then, I have coach (Gary) Kubiak giving me a chance to play in front of him and show him what I have. Coach (Joe) Marciano believed in me and has been coaching me every day in OTAs. It has been a great experience."

{QUOTE}2. What specifically have you learned from punter Matt Turk, who enters his 14th year in the league?

"I really have learned a lot from him about his drop. For punting, you want to have a specific drop. I have been watching him and how he drops before he punts in different situations, like when there is a when in your face. He has given me some tips and pointers on things to do in certain situations of the game. I'm also trying to adjust to the NFL ball, which is different from the college ball, and become more consistent with it."

3. What were your expectations going into OTAs?

"I wanted a shot; I wanted be given a fair chance, and I definitely think I have been given that. Coach Marciano spends a lot of time during practice working me out and doing different drills with me and charting me."

4. You've been compared to punter Shane Lechler. How did that come about?

"Shane and I have known each other for a long time. His dad was the Superintendent in my high school. My dad coached Shane when he was in school, and Shane used to be my babysitter. He sort of raised me as a punter."

5. What have you learned from Lechler?

"I see Shane as a role model. I grew up watching him play and I went to some of the games when he played at Texas A&M. He showed me a lot of tips and tricks when I was starting to punt. I watch him on Sundays and Monday nights when he's playing and I still study his punting style."

6. What part of your game do you need to improve the most to succeed in the NFL?

"For me, it's the consistency in my hang time. I need be consistent in hitting that punt of 45 yards with a 4.5 (hang time) or better. In college, I got away with the low, line-drive punts because we didn't have to worry as much about the returner scooping it up and trying to run. In the NFL, you can't get away with that."

7. Have you and coach Gary Kubiak talked about your Aggie connection?

"We've joked around a couple of times but not too much. He's pretty busy throughout the day. He has did joke that everyone needs more Aggie knowledge in them."

8. What has it been like getting to know the other rookies?

"A lot of these guys I've actually played with along the way, whether it's the Army All-American game coming out of high school or playing against them in college. So it's fun to get to talk to them. I got to know Mike Jones, the wide receiver from Arizona State, when we were at the Texans vs. The Nation game. It's been fun hanging out with him."

9. What has surprised you the most about being in an NFL locker room?

"I have been surprised by the team chemistry. You see a lot of those superstar, big-name guys and think they would have clashes with their teammates. But I haven't seen that at the Texans. It seems like everybody is one big family – they really like each other and take care of each other. The veterans help show the rookies the ropes, and that means a lot coming into an NFL organization."

10. What would it mean to play for the Texans, your hometown NFL team?

"It would be a tremendous honor. Being able to be so close to home and the family and friends who have supported me throughout high school, would be really great. I am a country boy; I love the hunting and fishing here. I also would get to play for coaches like coach Kubiak and coach Marciano. It would just mean the world to me."

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