Aug. 11, 2009
By Allison Taylor, UCLABruins.com contributor
Junior long snapper Christian Yount of the football team is the featured athlete in this week's UCLABruins.com Summer Spotlight. Yount has handled every snap for field goals, extra points and punts in the past two years and has become a valuable weapon for the Bruins due to his accuracy and velocity. This year, he became the first long snapper ever to be named to the pre-season Playboy All-American Team.
Q: Describe your reaction to being the first-ever long snapper to be named to the 2009 Playboy Magazine pre-season All America team.
A: I was very excited and honored. I had no idea that Playboy had added that position to their All American team. When they told me I was the guy, I was very surprised. Being a long snapper, I don't receive that much recognition, so it was a nice change.
Q: What made you start playing at the long snapper position?
A: When I was entering my first year of high school, my Dad suggested I try and learn how to snap just to get some playing time. I was not very good at first, and when I started snapping I had no idea it would get this far. We bought some instructional videos, and I started learning the basics. When I met Chris Rubio, my long snapping coach, he really taught me what I needed to know to excel at the position. I am really grateful that in the beginning my Dad pushed me and did not let me give up.
Q: You have handled every snap for the Bruins' punts, field goals, and extra points on the past two years. What makes you so consistent?
A: Lots of practice. I have a great group of kickers in Kai Forbath, Danny Rees and Jeff Locke. We work together four to five times a week to make sure when it's game time we can be perfect. I have excellent coaches at UCLA who help me, along with my long snapping coach when I'm off campus. I try and work on some aspect of long snapping every day, whether it's my spiral, consistency, or power there is always something to work on.
Q: A consistent long snapper is crucial; one mistake could change the outcome of the game. Do you ever get nervous and if you do, how do you calm your nerves?
A: To keep calm in pivotal moments of the game I just remind myself that this snap is just like every other snap. Whether it is at practice or in the Rose Bowl, my job stays the same. My first year I was nervous a couple of times, but now I've learned how to visualize and tune everything out to help me keep calm. I usually get more nervous teeing off when I'm golfing than I do snapping during games.
Q: What is it like playing in the Rose Bowl with tens of thousands of fans?
A: It's a great feeling playing in the Rose Bowl. When I started snapping, I never thought I would have the opportunity to play in front of that many people. I am very grateful for all the people who have helped me along the way so that now I can have these experiences.
Q: What made you decide to come to UCLA?
The education and athletics combination at UCLA is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I had to take it. I also didn't want to leave California. I grew up in Orange County, and I couldn't see myself in snow or hurricanes. I love a nice 75 degrees with a slight offshore breeze all year round. Another reason would be because I wanted to stay close to my wonderful family.
Q: What are you majoring in, and what do you plan to do after school?
A: I am majoring in Political Science. I've changed my major about four times, and it's a great feeling to find a major that I enjoy. Right now for after school plans, I am working towards playing in the NFL. If I don't do that I would like to either go to grad school and study political science, get my MBA or Law Degree. I am still trying to find what I really want to do, but I would love to work in the financial world or have some type of government job dealing with foreign relations. I would also love to travel around the world with my mom after I graduate. But it would be awesome if I had the opportunity to play in the NFL. I still have two years left playing at UCLA, so I am focused on helping the team and doing my best next season. But the thought of playing in the NFL is always in the back of my mind; that helps keep me focused on what I want to achieve in life.
Q: What are your interests outside of football?
A: I love going to the beach and golfing. I usually golf with the kickers and other teammates, so we have a good time on the course.
Q: We hear you make some of the BEST guacamole around; do you have a secret ingredient?
A: I can't tell you. It's a family recipe, and we try to keep it in the family. If everybody knew how to make it then it wouldn't be so special.
Q: What is the best thing about being a Bruin?
A: Being able to play football for UCLA.
Q: Can't miss TV shows?
A: Entourage and Little People Big World
Q: Favorite meal?
A: Mom's Burrito Mix and Dad's cookies.
Q: Favorite NFL team?
Q: If you could trade places with anyone on your team, who would it be and why?
A: Danny Rees. I would love to have his intensity in the weight room
Q: What movie can you watch over and over again and not get sick of?
A: TOP GUN
Q: Most embarrassing moment on the football field?
In high school we scored on a punt, and I was so excited I ran off the field and forgot I had to snap the extra point.
Q: What is your internet homepage?