A Few Minutes With Doug Kramer
- Recreation Sport and Tourism
- Doug Kramer
- Illinois Football
- College of Applied Health Sciences
- University of Illinois
Vince Lara in the College of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Illinois, speaks with Doug Kramer, an offensive lineman on the Illini football team and graduate student in the Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism.
VINCE LARA: Hi, and welcome to another edition of A Few Minutes With, the podcast that showcases Illinois' College of Applied Health Sciences. I'm Vince Lara, and today I'm speaking with Illini football player and RST grad student Doug Kramer on football, COVID, and why he picked RST. All right, talking with Doug Kramer, who is coming back to the Illini Football Team.
So Doug, I want to go back to when you first came onto campus. You know, you originally committed to FAU, and then former Coach Cubit offered you a spot on the Illini team. Then he was fired, and Coach Lovie Smith came in. But you still picked Illinois, and I wonder why.
DOUG KRAMER: Yeah. Honestly, it was a super-easy decision for me, you know? I grew up in Illinois, so-- Chicagoland area. Both my parents went to the University of Illinois. So that's kind of always the school that I wanted to go to. So when I was given the opportunity by Coach Cubit, I knew that no matter what happened, I was going to do as many years as I possibly could at this school, just growing up being a fan and stuff.
VINCE LARA: Now, you've been through a couple of coaching changes now, with Coach Lovie departing, and Coach Bielema coming in. And I wonder, does that affect a lineman as much as it affects the other skill players? How does it change what you're looking to do? Or does it change at all?
DOUG KRAMER: Yeah, it definitely changes. Each position will be changed differently, and it's all basically just technique and playing stops. And then obviously, having those relationships with the new coaches is huge. So yeah, I've had-- this will be my third offensive line coach.
And each one kind of has a different philosophy. They teach different things. And the same goes for an offensive coordinator, a quarterback coach, or a defensive coordinator. So each position kind of has little nuances that change it, and the same goes for coaching.
VINCE LARA: Yeah. And speaking of positional nuances, a guy like Nick Allegretti-- having been an offensive lineman like yourself, I wonder, what kind of influence did he have on you? Especially in terms of he did kind of the same path that you did. He went to Finance and then to RST. Did he have a lot of influence on you?
DOUG KRAMER: Yeah. Nick was one of the-- he was one of the older guys when I got into the offensive line room originally. So he was kind of the leader of the group and someone that a lot of the younger guys could follow and could look up to. So I was super-lucky to have Nick at Illinois when I got here.
It's someone that I look up to and I seek advice still to this day. But yeah, he definitely played a big role on me, on and off the field. I kind of asked him about the business school and stuff like that. And he did Accounting, I went Finance. So a little different, but still the same school.
VINCE LARA: Right. You know, you missed a couple of games because of COVID contact tracing. I'm wondering, what do you learn about yourself while you're in quarantine?
DOUG KRAMER: I think the biggest thing is just you've got to be appreciative of what you have in this current setting that our world is in right now. Obviously, COVID has changed a lot. It's made a lot of people look at themselves and be like, all right, look. What am I all about?
And obviously, football has been a huge influence in my life. And it just-- it really made me just appreciate the game of football, absolutely. But also, the relationships that come along with football and the little things about the game that make it a lot of fun for me.
VINCE LARA: If COVID hadn't hit, like if we had had a normal college football season, would you have applied for the Draft?
DOUG KRAMER: Yeah. I mean, if COVID was not a thing, then yeah, I wouldn't have been granted another year. So this is kind of like a new-- kind of an added change that came along with COVID, you know?
The NCAA has given all the seniors that have played the option to return if they want to or not. So it would have been back up against the wall, you've got to do it. So it would have been-- I wouldn't have really had a decision to make.
VINCE LARA: Yeah. But obviously for you, school is a big deal. I mean, you were named Academic All Big Ten again. Perfect GPA, which is fantastic. Has education always been important to you?
DOUG KRAMER: Yeah, absolutely. Academics is something that I kind of had to grow into a little bit, and that kind of came from my parents kind of pushing me in the classroom, as well as within sports. But I wasn't always a great student.
I had to work hard to get to the point where I am right now. And I attribute a lot to that-- a lot of that to my parents, just really pushing me in the classroom and making sure that, if you want to play sports, you've got to get good grades too. So that kind of carried over to football, and that carried over to college.
VINCE LARA: Your roommate is Brandon Peters. And as you mentioned, Nick Allegretti had a big influence on you. They both were in RST. Is that a big part of why you picked RST?
DOUG KRAMER: Yeah, absolutely. I talked to both of them before I applied and kind of got the lay of the land, and asked them what it was all about. And both spoke very highly of the program, so-- yeah, that was definitely one of the main reasons why I chose RST.
VINCE LARA: And have you-- how long have you been in the program now?
DOUG KRAMER: So I've been in-- so I started last summer. So I did summer, and then obviously the fall, and then now I'm in the spring semester. So a little under a year.
VINCE LARA: OK. Which class or instructor have you enjoyed the most?
DOUG KRAMER: That's a tough one.
VINCE LARA: Mm.
DOUG KRAMER: [CHUCKLES] I've had a lot of good instructors. I'd probably say the instructor that I kind of gravitated towards the most was Dr. Raycraft.
VINCE LARA: That's a common answer. [CHUCKLES]
DOUG KRAMER: Yeah. [LAUGHS] Just because we had a previous relationship. He teaches RST 199, which is a class that every athlete takes coming into school, and they take it early on.
And I think he does a really good job with that, just kind of getting everyone into college and stuff, and the transition of high school sports to college sports. So I think he does a really good job. And one of the classes I took that he was the professor was RST 520, I believe it is. So that's Critical Issues in Sports Management.
VINCE LARA: Mhm.
DOUG KRAMER: So yeah, that's probably the one that I've enjoyed the most. And there's a little bit of carryover between each class, which I also like. But I would say that being able to link curriculum with sports is something that I really like, because sports has been a huge influence on my life. So any time I can kind of create that link, it really helps me to learn better and gets me interested in the topic.
VINCE LARA: Sure. Football's obviously in the plan, right, post-college. But football careers are notoriously short. So what's the post-football plan? Do you plan to use the things you learned, either in Finance or RST, post-football?
DOUG KRAMER: I think I'll definitely, definitely try to use both my degrees, if I can. And that's one of the reasons why I chose RST for grad school, is because there are elements of finance in RST as well. And obviously, the financial world kind of touches everything. So I think it allows you to be a little bit versatile in your decision-making, and-- yeah.
So I don't know if I have anything too specific right now that I'm looking to do. But obviously, if I can use the Finance degree and link it over to sports, whether that's in the front office of a team, or even using some of the management skills that you learn just to do coaching, I'd love to stay in the game of football. But obviously, if it weeds me out of there, then I'll definitely go down the financial road and find something there that interests me.
VINCE LARA: My thanks to
DOUG KRAMER. For more podcasts on Illinois' College of Applied Health Sciences, search A Few Minutes With on iTunes, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Radio.com, and other places you get your podcast fix. Thanks for listening, and see you next time.