Amy Donaldson: Football, hard work keep the pressure off QB prospect Austin Kafentzis
One thing Kyle Kafentzis has done to help his son keep both the pressure and the ego in check is to involve his friends and teammates in camps and workouts. Every opportunity that's extended to Austin becomes an opportunity for his teammates.
"It's nice to just be one of the guys," he said, rattling off the silly things the teens do when they're away from the field.
Kyle said they talk about ego and the potential for it to outpace his accomplishments on the field.
"We've talked about the fact that in sports, you're only as good as your last game," he said laughing. "You're only as good as your last throw. You've always got something to prove. He feels this burning desire to win championships. The invididual awards are great, but it's the championships he wants to win."
"Some of the world's greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible."
— Doug Larson, columnist
On a recent visit to a campt at Texas A&M, Austin approached a young man about his size and asked him if he wanted to race. That young athlete happened to be Tony Brown from Beaumont, Texas, one of the country's most highly recruited cornerbacks.
Austin beat Brown, and he didn't do it to be arrogant or to brag. He did it because he loves to compete with the best.
"What I love about Utah is kids are brought up to think, 'Why can't I be the next Aaron Rogers?'" said Kyle Kafentzis. "I like that type of mentality. Talk about pressure, they say, 'Hey if that's what I want to be, if that's what those guys have to do, then I need to do it.' "
When Austin reads about what the rest of the world expects of him, he isn't afraid. He is energized.
"I've gotten used to it," he said, admitting that first season offered him a lot of opportunities to learn how to deal with pressure. "It just gives me the motivation to do better, to keep improving, to give them more stuff to talk about."
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