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Flames Feature: Focused On Being His Best
During the bye week, LibertyFlames.com will be providing a series of interviews with Liberty's coaches and a few feature stories about some of its key players. Today's feature story is about Kevin Fogg, Liberty's returning All-America kick return specialist.
The story below ran in Liberty's Flames Illustrated game day program for the Flames home opener against Norfolk State on Sept. 8. On the season, Fogg ranks fourth on the team in tackles with 18 stops, including a team-best 13 solo tackles.
Focused On Being His Best
Kevin Fogg is an anomaly.
Strolling through the Football Operations Center, his dynamic personality is on display, swapping handshakes, high fives and light conversation as he goes. Much of the conversation revolves around his new hairdo.
"Yeah, I did this just for football," said the senior defensive back and kick return specialist with a grin, running his hands over the blond-tipped, faux-hawk. "I think I'm going to keep it the whole season. We'll see how it goes, though. Hopefully, I don't get mad because we're doing bad or something and cut it."
He laughed heartily and joked, "I guess you can judge the season by my hair!"
When it comes to his major, he's as technically focused as they come.
"It's BMIS, Business Management and Information Systems," Fogg explained. "Most athletes go into sports management and stuff like that, I know, but I actually came in wanting to be a computer engineer my freshman year."
In other words, the math-oriented major is a step down from his original pick.
"I needed to pick something that wasn't taking up too much of my time because football and engineering was way too much to try and keep up with," he said. "[BMIS] is pretty cool - computer programming and stuff like that. I mean, it's not the easiest, but I like it just because it gives me an opportunity to have a good-paying job after football."
The contrast is, by all standards, improbable. But it is his unique combination of drive and attention to detail that makes Fogg dangerous on the football field.
While most players allow excitement to overwhelm their play, Fogg thrives when the lights come on and the pressure becomes intense. He seems to take the emotion and intensity of game situations and channels them into pure, focused energy.
Fogg's kick returns seem to be calculated and steady 100-yard attacks, thanks to his vision and stiff-arms that echo back to his days as a running back in high school.
At corner, he sticks to receivers and tackles with surgical precision that special teams coach Mike Minter attributes to his explosive change of speed and devotion to executing the details.
In his junior season alone, Fogg logged an impressive 45 tackles, three interceptions, a blocked field goal, 771 total return yards, three touchdowns off kickoff returns. In the process, he set the Big South single-season record for average kickoff return yards with 33.5. Conference and national media attention and awards were not far behind.
Most impressive of all? He is not satisfied.
"I always want to do better than I did the previous season," Fogg noted. "I want to see our team go above and beyond this season with this coaching staff and these players. [To] make it to the playoffs is something that's never happened for this program and that would be amazing. Just to see us go somewhere we've never been... and if I could be a huge contributor in that it would be amazing."
"[He's a] competitor, passionate about the game. [He] wants to be the best in the country. He's not satisfied with just being okay, and that's what you love about a great player," stated head coach Turner Gill. "He's still wanting to get better."
"Every day he wants to be the best Kevin Fogg he can be," added Minter, a former NFL safety. "From the beginning he has always paid attention to the little things, asking me about them and really working hard on the details he can improve on. That's what will take his game to the next level."
Fogg's rare mix of drive and concentration translates in the locker room, too, where his passion for the team aspect of football earned him a team captain position for the 2012 season.
"Part of my thinking in waiting later to select team captains is I wanted to see - and I wanted their teammates to see - over a period of time who led as examples in summer and during the preseason," stated Gill.
Obviously Fogg's teammates liked what they saw.
"Being named team captain is something that's a huge honor and I take a real appreciation in it," said Fogg. "For your teammates to vote you captain to lead them is just something that any person should take pride in. I never do anything for myself, [but] to honor God and for my family and teammates."
"Kevin does a great job of not just talking about [leadership], but doing it. A lot of guys talk about leadership, but the team's really going to respect a guy who can back it up. He brings energy to the team," Minter noted.
When asked how he sparks the Flames, Fogg replied, "I try to find ways to make all of us happy and excited. Football is something that obviously excites us all, so you don't really have to do too much to spark teammates. I just like to do a little ‘hoo-rah' and stuff like that, let them know that this is our time to shine as a team."
So as Liberty hits the field for another Flames football season, expect to see Fogg securing the defensive backfield, tackling with the pinpoint accuracy of a BMIS major and electrifying personality to match the faux-hawk.
"In football, I can have fun and joke around but always know that I have to go out and perform," Fogg summarized. "I just like to give my best in whatever I do."
With that in mind, Liberty fans have a whole season of faux-hawk-led defense and special teams to look forward to during the 2012 football season. Leadership and talent like Fogg's show that he likely won't be treating the crowds at Williams Stadium to a new haircut anytime soon.
Ryley Rush is a Liberty University freshman and is a freelance writer for Liberty Athletics