Q&A with Army OL Brett Toth: ‘It’s all about the repetitions’

Army offensive lineman Brett Toth improved his NFL Draft stock this  postseason after receiving invites to both the 2018 East-West Shrine Game and 2018 Senior Bowl.  We talked with Toth about Army's resurgence during his tenure and the transition from an option-based offense in the postseason.

Army OT Brett Toth (No. 78 pictured) blocking during Day 3 of 2018 Senior Bowl practices in Mobile, Alabama.

DN: We’ve had a chance to do a couple of your games the last couple of years. The upset over Temple.

Toth: In 2016.

DN: Yeah, the first game of the season. Some of your fellow offensive linemen, like Rick Kurz, had to be happy for you (getting selected for the East-West Shrine). Army has had some defensive backs that have been in some all-star games (Caleb Campbell-2008 East-West Shrine) but you’re one of the more recent offensive lineman. Talk a little bit about being here in the East-West Shrine.

Toth: Definitely I want to say thank you to the Shrine Game. Big statement here at the Shrine Game is that it’s more than just a game. I love that aspect of it, going out and kind of doing community service. The outreach programs -like with Shriners Hospital- it’s amazing, it’s unbelievable. It’s taken the game itself, which is a game we all love, everyone here you gotta love it, being here. It’s taken that and putting the bigger message out there. I’m here representing my school. If we didn’t have the success we’ve had the past two years, who knows if I’d be here. The senior class, the junior class, as you mentioned Rick Kurz. Up front, our offensive line, we were just determined the past two seasons. We were determined to make Army great again. And I’d like to say that we did that following that last win out in Texas (2017 Armed Forces bowl victory over San Diego State).

DN: You definitely have made Army great again. Let’s talk a little bit about you. Very versatile in terms of your mobility getting up to the second level. You’ve gained weight while you’ve been in school. At one point, you were starting at around the 270-pound range. What is your weight up to now and how has it felt having to pass set so much out here this week (played in an option-based offense at Army)?

Toth: I just weighed in at 305.

DN: Wow, that’s pretty awesome man.

Toth: Yeah, I was 315 over the break.  Got some of my Mom’s home cooking….(laughs). That was nice. Transitioning to the pass set. Again, it’s the raw attributes. It’s the mobility and the kind of stuff that I excelled with.

DN: Well, you’ve seemed pretty comfortable so far.

Toth: I’ve just gotta tweak a few things. Fundamentals. Watching guys like Zach (Crabtree) over there at right tackle from Oklahoma State. He’s unbelievable with the pass set. So I’m trying to learn as much as possible from him. I feel like I’ve already got the run scheme down out here with the zone, it’s just the pass set is just so much of the game. I need to keep reppin’ it, reppin’ it, reppin’ it and get better with it.

DN: We were talking about your mobility and your foot speed, which has always shown up on tape. But it was noticeable when the offensive linemen were racing earlier in practice, that you beat everybody. Do you take that personal, being faster than everybody else (laughs…)?

Toth: (Laughs)…Uh, I would actually say it’s pretty close. You get Greg (Senat) from Wagner, he was giving me a run for my money.

DN: Best of luck man and congratulations on a great career.

Toth: Yes sir, thank you.

DN: Thank you.

-DN Staff reports, East-West Shrine practices, Day 2

Texas A&M P Shane Tripucka: ‘All in the Family’

Former Texas A&M punter Shane Tripucka is not your ordinary punter.  His father, Chris, played football at Boston College but his family lineage doesn't stop there.  His grandfather is former NFL quarterback Frank Tripucka (Denver Broncos) and his uncle, Kelly Tripucka, played for the Detroit Pistons and the Utah Jazz.  DraftNasty's Corey Chavous caught up with the former Aggie during the week of 2018 East-West Shrine practices to discuss his meticulous approach as a specialist.

DN: How have you enjoyed the experience down here (2018 East-West Shrine practices) and what are your goals for the week?

Tripucka: It’s been great so far. It’s kind of cool to get out here, you know, go through a little bit of the NFL systems and learn some stuff. I just want to come out here, do what I do, kick some ball, learn a little bit and hopefully come out here and punt well.

DN: The kicking tradition at Texas A&M is kind of long. Most recently Josh Lambo (Chargers, ), but there a lot of other ones who’ve come out (Shane Lechler). Drew Kaser (Los Angeles Chargers) is another guy. What did you learn from those guys mentally…let’s say for instance if you have a shank?

Tripucka: I learned a lot from those guys. I was at A&M and I sat behind Drew Kaser for a few years. So I got to watch how he goes about his days and goes about practice to learn just the little things. Feedback with each other. If one of us is struggling, to be able to tell the other, ‘Hey, I think you should maybe look at this and do stuff.’ So, it was good to have that feedback between each other.  It really helped me.

DN: In looking at some of the kicks we charted on you (2017), we’re seeing punts with 70 yards distance, 4.69 hang time. We see 4.72 hang times with a 1.12 catch-and-kick time. What was your hang time average for the most part this year?

Tripucka: I was usually in the mid-to-high fours, 4.6. I’m usually in there.  For me, that’s solid.

DN: That’s NFL-like. Matt Bosher-like (Atlanta Falcons).

Tripucka: That’s how my punting game is. I’m more of a hang time, directional kind of punter…instead of you know, a little bit longer-hitting, long punts, big punts. I’m a consistent guy. So, that’s something I strive to do every day.

DN: Would you say you’re 2 ½-step, three-step? What would you say in that regard?

Tripucka: I’m honestly just a regular two-step punter within three yards. I’m very compact in what I do. I think that really helps with get-off times and in my punting too. The shorter I am, the better the punt is going to be.

DN: Finally, if you had to say there was one punter that you kind of look up to in terms of who you’ve patterned your game after, who would that be?

Tripucka: I’m a big Johnny Hecker fan (Los Angeles Rams). I watch a lot of Johnny Hecker film. He punts a lot like I do. Obviously, he’s the best in the game. He’s someone I try to watch the film and kind of model my game after.

DN: That’s one heck of a person to model your game after. Hey man, good luck this year and good luck in the NFL Draft.

Tripucka: Thank you. I appreciate it.

DN: No doubt.

Tripucka: It’s good talking to you.

DN: Good talking to you too.

-Corey Chavous, DraftNasty Staff reports

2018 East-West Shrine practices, Day 2