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'He's a great weapon': Sooners kicker Gabe Brkic says his breakfast, mustache and golf swing power his kicking game

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Gabe Brkic

Redshirt junior kicker/punter Gabe Brkic during practice on Aug. 17.

The #Sooners expected to shutdown Tulane but ended up in a second-half shootout. Is this really what a No. 2 team looks like?

Filmed by Justin Jayne

Edited by Collin McDaniel & Justin Jayne

Written by Georgia Bomar, Chandler Engelbrecht and Justin Jayne

Voice-over by Chandler Engelbrecht

Gabe Brkic can tell when Lincoln Riley plans to settle for a field goal.

Brkic told reporters after Oklahoma’s 40-35 win over Tulane that when the Sooners find themselves on fourth down near the red zone, he looks to see if his head coach is shaking his head. If he is, it’s time for the redshirt junior kicker to take the field.

But, that’s just Brkic’s way of describing Riley’s field goal tell. Riley gave a simpler description of his in-game demeanor during a Tuesday press conference. 

“He knows we’re gonna kick a field goal if he looks at me and I’m pissed,” Riley said. 

Riley’s anger likely got the best of him during the Sooners’ season opener. His team’s kicking unit took the field five times against the Green Wave, and three of those came after OU’s defense forced a turnover. Brkic went four of five on the day, and had three field goals from over 50 yards out to tie an FBS record and break the program mark. After the game, Brkic’s nonchalant, lighthearted attitude toward his performance took fans and media members by surprise. However, those around him weren’t shocked — that’s just who Brkic is.

“He’s a funny guy,” said Riley, who didn’t watch Brkic’s postgame interview until former OU coach Bob Stoops texted it to him Monday night. “He doesn’t take anything too serious. ... I think he’s made that an advantage in his game. He’s a fun guy, man. I think the guys really like (and) respect him. He’s got a good balance and perspective on things.

“And he’s a lot of fun to have around when it’s fourth down and we’re on the 35-yard line, too.”

Brkic said he was able to convert his attempts from 26, 51, 55 and 56 yards out thanks to his breakfast Saturday morning. Chicken and pasta was his meal of choice, allowing him to “boot that ball.”

His 56-yard field goal was the furthest by an OU kicker since 1977 and the program’s third longest ever. In addition to his hearty breakfast, Brkic said his mustache and mullet-like haircut adds a few extra yards to his kicking game.

Brkic’s lone miss against Tulane was a 31-yard attempt in the game’s fourth quarter, which he said was just “a little mishap” after his leg got tired. In his career, Brkic is 41-of-48 on field goals and has made all 107 of his PATs.

“He’s a great weapon,” sophomore wide receiver Marvin Mims said of Brkic. “We’ve known that. … Basically, we just have to cross the 40-yard line and he can put it in there.”

A native of Chardon, Ohio, Brkic said he actually practiced his golf game a lot this offseason to help him with his technique on the football field. Brkic believes swinging a golf club and kicking a football go hand in hand, and he wanted to improve his craft however he could.

“I do a lot of strength training, speed training and, honestly, a lot of it is just a lot of mind exercises,” Brkic said during OU’s fall camp. “Not specific mind exercises, but when we work out — am I focused in every workout? It will translate to a game, almost exactly.”

Brkic was named to the watch list for the Lou Groza Award on July 28. The award is annually given to the country’s best place kicker. Brkic said he approaches every kick like he’s parallel parking a car, an old coaching tip he learned from a friend of his father’s.

“I’ve learned through the years that you can’t be thinking about the kick at that moment,” Brkic said. “It’s all muscle memory at that point. … But I take my mind completely off football.”

“Every kick, I just think, 'I’m (going to) parallel park the football through the goal post.'”

Chandler Engelbrecht is a journalism senior and the Daily's assistant sports editor. He currently covers OU football and has previously covered OU men's basketball, volleyball and men's gymnastics.

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