August 21, 2013

Through the eyes of a senior: Tanner Ellingsen

Editor's Note: Each practice during fall camp, UNCBears.com will sit down with one of the seniors on the team and take a look at the Northern Colorado football team through their eyes. Senior punter Tanner Ellingsen never thought he'd see a fall camp again, or wear the pads, but teammates and coaches convinced him to give punting another go after leaving the team and now he's back for his senior year in 2013. Ellingsen didn't play in 2011 and 2012, but played in one of the longest games in school history – the four-overtime contest at Weber State on Sept. 11, 2010. After Wednesday's practice, he sat down to talk about those experiences and more.

UNC: What do you see as three main reasons fans should come to your games this year?

Ellingsen: The first reason I think would be that we'll surprise a lot of people this year and come out and win quite a few games compared to (previous) years. The next reason is that it's going to be exciting. We have a lot of good players, good athletes, that are going to do good things. And the third reason is to just come out and support the university and support the team.

UNC: If you could follow only one teammate on Twitter, who would it be and why?

Ellingsen: I think it would have to be @SwolConSpar. Ryan Holmes does that and it's for Conor Sparacio, and it's pretty funny.

UNC: Is there anything you want to say to naysayers of UNC football?

Ellingsen: If I had to say anything, it would just be to come out and watch us. This year will be a good turning point for us. Our actions are going to speak louder than words. We're going to come out and win a lot of games, and we're going to surprise a lot of people.

UNC: Who do you think is the up-and-comer at punter?

Ellingsen: That would have to be Jesse Holzmer. I know he's coming back from a big injury, especially as a kicker — an ACL tear is huge. But he's made huge improvements in four months.

UNC: What's the best stadium you've played in away from Nottingham?

Ellingsen: That would have to be Michigan State. Just being there and 70,000 people was insane, just unimaginable. 

UNC: Of your current coaches, who would you most like to go one-on-one with from back in their playing days?

Ellingsen: I'd have to kick with (Director of Football Operations Zak) Bigelow.

UNC: Why did you choose UNC?

Ellingsen: I really liked the coaching staff. I was recruited by (former head coach Scott) Downing, and he was really into special teams and kicking, and at the time my family was real close. I went to high school about 20 minutes away, so it was nice to stay home and stay close to those guys.

UNC: If there was one world issue or social cause you could increase awareness of, what would it be?

Ellingsen: I'd say bullying in schools. I have three younger siblings, and I know they've experienced some of that. So that would be something I'd like to raise awareness of and try to eliminate in our schools.

UNC: If you could play any of the other sports at UNC, what would it be?

Ellingsen: I'd like to play basketball. I ref high school basketball, so I think it would be great to play college basketball.

UNC: Which of the accomplishments in your life are you most proud of?

Ellingsen: I think having the ability to come play college football and then having the chance to come back a second time with a different coaching staff. It's huge, especially with Coach Collins honoring me with a scholarship, I couldn't even imagine that.

UNC: What song do you find stuck in your head these days?

Ellingsen: It came on the first day of camp and it was "Jumper" by Third Eye Blind, and that's just been stuck in my head the entire time.

UNC: We're now going to ask you some fun questions about your teammates…Who's the best singer on the team?

Ellingsen: The best singer is probably (senior center) Zak Thrall. In our off time, he's always in the locker room playing his guitar and singing to everybody.

UNC: Who does the best Coach Collins imitation?

Ellingsen: I've heard (senior WRs) Jace Davis do a few good ones and Will Jefferson Jr. do some good ones, as well.

UNC: Who's the comedian of the team?

Ellingsen: I don't know if he's the best on the team, but (senior linebacker) Clarence Bumpas is a pretty funny guy. And having a locker close to him, he's always got some pretty funny things to say and likes to joke around a lot.

UNC: Who's most likely to get on a teammate when they're not living up to their full potential?

Ellingsen: I've heard (senior QB) Seth Lobato get on some people sometimes, and same thing with (senior LB Clarence) Bumpas. Those guys are the leaders on offense and defense so they take that role seriously.

UNC: Who watches the TV program that shocks you, and what is it?

Ellingsen: I know Conor Sparacio is a big"One Tree Hill" fan, so he'll sit down a lot and Netflix some "One Tree Hill." 

UNC: If you could interview and celebrity, who would it be and what would you want to find out?

Ellingsen: I think I'd like to interview (Indianapolis Colts kicker) Adam Vinatieri. I grew up in South Dakota and he's from South Dakota, and obviously being kickers, it's a close thing to relate to, so I'd like to know what he went through growing up and how he got to the NFL and stuff.

UNC: What's the best place in the world you've ever visited?

Ellingsen: I've never been out of the States, but this summer I went to Seattle and that was a great place. It's not hot and it's super nice, and the coast was gorgeous.

UNC: If you could be on any reality TV show, which would you choose and why?

Ellingsen: I'd like to be on "Survivor." Growing up, I watched the first five seasons of that straight, and I got addicted to it. I haven't watched it since, but that would be a good show to be on.