Welcome to the latest installation of "Around 20 Questions," a feature hoping to become a regular fixture on Insights. The hope is to do a few of these a week with the tentative schedule being Mondays -- non-revenue athletes; Wednesday -- an athletic alumni; Thursday -- football/men's basketball/women's basketball player or coach. If there is anyone you want us to talk to or any tips on who inside the wacky Notre Dame world might be a good, pithy interview subject, drop an e-mail to email@example.com. Pat Kuntz is a senior defensive end for Notre Dame. After taking the spring off for "personal reasons," Kuntz returned and is part of the Irish's leadership committee and is now free to talk hair, burps and his last name.
Irish Insights: When's the first time you've ever done something crazy with your hair?
Pat Kuntz: "Ever? In my life? Ahh. I think back, like at least third grade I remember putting an Umbro sign, like the old soccer symbol. That was pretty bad. I had a mullet when I was five years old with steps on the sides. I'm going to bring it back, do a throwback day and do some steps on the sides."
II: So that's coming this year?
PK: "Yeah, for sure."
II: What's the weirdest haircut you've gotten? Was it last week?
PK: "I had a rat tail when I was younger, too. I don't know what my parents were thinking, but I liked it."
II: Was this all your parents? Did you have some say in this?
PK: "I think it was probably mainly me seeing all my older brothers' haircuts and so they probably just said 'All right, go ahead.'"
II: So when you come home with your head shaved, are your parents like 'What?'
PK: "Well, I had my head shaved from my freshman year of high school until I came here, like junior year. I had six solid years of just pure head shaved."
II: So why back to the craziness?
PK: "Ahh, I missed having hair. I missed it. I might go bald. I might as well enjoy my hair while I've got it."
II: Your last name, obviously, what's the worst mispronunciation (it's pronounced Koo-NTZ) you've had?
PK: "(Laughs uncontrollably) Let's just say people call the house, the telemarketers, and they pronounce it, I don't know if I should say it but people can probably think about it. They are always like 'Mr. Blank.' I'm like 'Nope, none of that here.' And I hang up the phone."
II: So you hang up?
PK: "Oh yeah, telemarketers, especially when they mispronounce the name, that's just an auto-hangup."
II: Have telemarketers ever gotten it right?
PK: "They have gotten it right. More often than not, people get it right just for the fact that they are too scared to say it the way it probably looks."
II: What about in school? Where they like 'Pat Kuu-nntz?'
PK: "(Laughs) There have been teachers who have said it and then everybody laughs. I'm just like, I give them a quick reaction that says 'No, not right the way you said it.' I don't know. It's happened plenty of times in the past and really, like, people think it's a really bad word to say but I've been naturally saying it since second grade because I've heard it all the time."
II: Did you ever go to your mom and say 'What's that?'
PK: "No. My brother let me know what that was in first grade. Wasn't anything big about that."
II: What's been your most embarrassing moment on the field?
PK: "All right, last year against Boston College. That old field we had, it was always causing problems and I was pass rushing and I tried to plant and a chunk of grass came out with my foot and I fell down on my foot. The offensive lineman was just standing there, looking at me, and I was lying there, looking up at him just laughing. I'm like 'Oh my God.' I told him 'Great block' but he didn't do anything, a chunk of grass came up with my foot. It was the grass. It got me good."
II: Best moment you had?
PK: "I won three state championships in a row in high school (at Indianapolis Roncalli), that was one of the best times of my life. Playing with guys you've known your whole life and being able to do something like that, it's something I'll never forget."
II: When Charlie chews you out, what goes through your head?
PK: "For me, with my attitude, it's always just don't say anything back. Just keep my mouth shut, don't say anything back because in my day, I would have thrown something back."
II: Have you been tempted?
PK: "Oh, I've been tempted many times."
II: You ever get half of it out and are just, like, umm..
PK: "Sometimes, it's just the natural reaction for me but, I've learned more and more to just take the beating and walk away."
II: You have your quirks. What's the quirk people don't know?
PK: "Hmm. Quirkiest thing about me people don't know? I can probably burp longer than any person, human being, I've ever met."
II: Wow. How long?
PK: "I can do the ABC's twice before in one burp. I can do it without drinking anything. I can do it right now, yeah."
II: Go for it.
PK: "Go for it? Ha. Hey (Brian Hardin, Notre Dame's director of football media relations), do you think I can burp in an interview?"
Brian Hardin: "(Shakes head, saying no.)
PK: "Nope, probably not going to have to do that. But just imagine, it can get pretty long."
II: Do people turn and look? Is it a party trick you whip out at parties?
PK: "Nah, I only do it sometimes. Like somebody will burp and I'll be like 'Oh, that's weak,' or something like that. But I don't bust it out that often. It's pretty bad, so I usually don't bust it out that often."
II: Is it a family talent?
PK: "Nah. Just me. I figured out how to do it and just started doing it."