It’s not every day a former Husker gets to meet an international chef and restaurateur, but that’s what recently happened for former Nebraska punter—and current Baltimore Ravens punter—Sam Koch.
Koch—who just signed a two-year contract extension with the Ravens—joined Hail Varsity Radio on Friday to talk about that meeting with Ramsay. The chef was in Baltimore a few weeks ago at the Gordon Ramsay Steak at the Horseshoe Casino, planning to surprise some culinary students.
But there was one more guest in attendance. Koch, sporting a Nebraska hat, was also present to learn how to make the perfect ribeye from Ramsay.
“It was kind of interesting, you know, hearing from our media people. They kind of told me the story of how it all came about,” Koch told Hail Varsity Radio’s Chris Schmidt. “Gordon Ramsay was coming to town. He has a restaurant down at the casino in Baltimore with Guy Fieri, and there’s another guy with a restaurant down there as well, but they were talking one day with the Ravens, ‘How can we do something to create a relationship with the Ravens?’ Someone they got on the conversation about punting. Now, punting [in England] is indicating that you’re rowing. You’re in a boat and punting means you’re rowing. Somehow that all came together and they’re like, ‘Well, how about a punter?’
“It just kind of was coincidence how it all kind of happened. Because I was a punter they thought about, ‘Well, why don’t we show you what punting is here in the United States?’ He was a former soccer player growing up and it all kind of worked out. We go down there to be one of the judges on that cooking show and I decided it would be a great idea to meet someone like Gordon Ramsay and it was a great opportunity. The wife and I went down there, we judged the cooking show and he showed me how to make a phenomenal steak.”
While the video of Koch teaching Ramsay to punt hasn’t yet been posted on the chef’s YouTube page, Koch did share a little about the experience. Ramsay’s soccer background proved to be beneficial in the lesson—a knee injury ultimately ended his soccer career and led him to a culinary career—but a better pair of shoes apparently would have been beneficial.
“We started off kicking a few soccer balls through the uprights and you could tell he was definitely familiar with that,” Koch said. “At that point after we got done kicking the ball around and doing a little warmup, I ended up showing him what punting was like and, you know, I always say punting is much harder than kicking a stationary object on a tee just because you’re hitting a moving target. You’ve got to make sure you’re controlling the drop so you can hit the ball the way you want. The drop has to be flat. There’s a lot more that goes into it rather than just hitting the ball of a tee. I kind of joke with [Ravens placekicker Justin] Tucker about it all the time. Now granted, it takes a lot of consistency to do what he does and all these other field goal kickers because you only have the uprights to get it through. So, showing him how to punt was a little more difficult. He did end up getting one to turn over and have a spiral, so he caught on pretty quick but not surprised with his kicking background and his ability to play soccer that he was able to pick it up.
“It was definitely an experience. The other part is that he has size 15 shoes and at the time, he didn’t have soccer shoes on so that kind of hurt.”