Milne doing a lot of warming up
THINK back to that old episode of "Happy Days," in which the guys are playing basketball; the coach yells at Ralph (not Potsy; Ralph) to get into the game. Ralph jumps off the bench, yanks off his warm-ups to run in and ... no uniform. He's wearing regular clothes underneath!
"I never play!" Ralph yelps.
I always think of this when I think of Kurt Milne.
There is all this hoopla in the current UH winning streak (five games now). Colt Brennan is unstoppable, first in the nation in three categories. UH is leading the country in total offense. Hawaii goes up and down the field. Colt Brennan is unstoppable (have I already said that?).
Oh, sure, it's great. But I ask you -- isn't anyone thinking about the punter in any of this?
Milne is in this awkward position that the better Hawaii does, the less he plays.
"Exactly," he said.
You can almost read his mind as UH converts third-down opportunity after third-down opportunity: All right! Way to go, guys. OK, guys. Um, guys? Come on!
"It was all nice, you know, at first," Milne said. "And then well, you know, you feel like you kind of want to be part of the, the winning. The success."
You want to tell girls you play football. Stuff like that.
He was able to laugh about all this, in the locker room after Saturday's game. He had a sense of humor. He smiled. He was smiling because UH had just beaten Idaho 68-10. But also, because in the bench-clearing blowout, even he had gotten in. You know, late in the game. One play.
"I thought about going for it on that fourth down and we would have finished perfect for the game," June Jones said. "But I didn't think that was quite right."
"It was nice to get A punt," Milne said. "I think that was only my 12th punt all year, in eight games."
(He was right. Of course he was. He's had so few he cherishes each one. Does he remember the last time he punted? "Yeah," he said quickly. "Fresno.")
Oh, he doesn't begrudge anyone, he's not complaining, mind you. He's team-first, of course. It's just ...
"I wish I knew before the game, you know? Or all week!"
Before he puts in all that work.
"It's like you prepare, warming up, and then every third down, run to think maybe you're going to go punt, and then don't. And then back on the sideline, doing it all over again. So really, it's just a lot of warming up. It's all I do."
That's life for a punter when an offense is on this rare kind of run. He knows it. He can laugh about it.
"Hell," he said, "you know it's going to be this way only so often."