the study of all things kicker related

Monday, November 28, 2011

NFL Week 12: Broncos 16-13 Over Chargers, Novak & Prater

Both kickers got a shot at a game winning field goal attempt during overtime between Denver and San Diego. Chargers kicker Nick Novak actually had two attempts, although the first one technically did not count due to a last second timeout by the Broncos. It worked to his advantage as the kick was blocked. On the re-kick, things still didn't work out, as his 53 yarder went wide right.
"It was a very nice night, you know, perfect conditions. I had a good warm-up and felt like I hit that ball pretty decent. To make the first kick of the game from 53 (yards) gives you a lot of confidence for the next kicks that come. So, you know, I just take ’em as they come. I just take one kick at a time. I took that one in overtime as the next kick for me and that’s all I was focused on, even though I made one from the same distance earlier in the game... I expected to make all those attempts."
Novak will now need to put that behind him and move onward as usual. Punter and holder Mike Scifres doesn't anticipate that will be a problem:
"[Novak’s] like Nate [Kaeding]. He’s probably one of the more mentally tough guys I’ve been around. I’ve been fortunate with those two [that] the mental game is not an issue with either one of them, and that’s huge for a kicker. Nick’s a perfectionist, like a lot of kickers are. And it shows in how he goes about his work Monday through Saturday and in pregame on Sunday and in the game on Sunday. He’s dialed in from Day One and that’s what you want in your kicker. Mentally, he’s in the game at all times.”
Although Matt Prater​ had to wait for his chance until there was only 29 seconds left in the extra period, the Broncos made it a little easier for him - setting him up with a 37 yard attempt. His kick was good. As he simply stated afterward, such opportunities are what he eagerly awaits:
"As a kicker, that's what you look for. Just like a quarterback looks for that 2-minute drive for a touchdown to win it at the end."

Grey Cup 2011: Lions 34-23 over Bombers, McCallum scores 16

“We decided to get to work [after starting the season 0-5] and not think about how good we were supposed to be. With hard work, we showed how good we really could be.”
- Paul McCallum

The B.C. Lions turnaround culminated in last night's Grey Cup victory. As he did all season, McCallum contributed by scoring often - with four field goals, three extra points, and a single. At the conclusion of the game, he opted to celebrate outside where it was dry:
The Lions’ post-game celebration following their 34-23 win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the 99th Grey Cup at BC Place was, in all respects, an over-the-top affair, “extreme and overwhelming” in the opinion of a CFL media person, but perhaps that’s to be expected. Bursting and sloshing magnums of champagne and Molson Canadian, the Lions turned their locker room into a Maid of the Mist adventure, an orgy of suds and foam making intruders wish they’d brought their rain gear. “Glad, I missed,” said kicker Paul McCallum, who elected to stay clear of the hijinx and communed outside with his family.
Things were obviously more subdued in the Bombers locker room afterward. Punter Jamie Boreham, who also handles kickoffs, was lamenting their failed onside kickoff attempt which brought an end to the fourth quarter rally.
"Bad kick, bad line. [Greg] Carr made a good play on it. If I had two more yards, maybe it's perfect.... We were down, but if we would have had that, the offence would've taken it down and it would've been a tie game. I know that."
Still outside, McCallum and the remaining Lions never did get the planned group photo op:
“We were hoping to get together and take a big team picture like in hockey — good luck,” McCallum said, surveying the confetti-strewn carpet, with hundreds of reporters, fans and family crowding around.

NFL Week 12: Bengals 23-20 Over Browns, Nugent Hits Winner

Mike Nugent
Whether it would have made a difference is purely speculation. 
A 55 yarder is no certainty and there was almost two minutes still remaining. Regardless, Cleveland's potential game winning field goal was thwarted by a low snap and the attempt came up short. Long snapper Ryan Pontbriand, who also had a costly mis-snap two weeks earlier, commented after the game:
"It was a bad snap ... really bad. It was a very bad snap.... I’m in a pretty tough slump right now. I’m trying to work as hard as I can to get out of it."
Despite the conditions, kicker Phil Dawson felt the kick could have been make-able:
"There were a few gusts as the rain bands came in, but we had it pegged. The operation was not what it needed to be to make that kick."
Punter and holder Brad Maynard had a lot going through his mind during and after the play:
He demonstrated how he tried to handle a snap that came in low and on a short hop: Palms raised, and then immediately smothering the ball; then, pick it up and spot it for Dawson in whatever split seconds were available. Dawson got the kick off, but it didn’t come close. Maynard second-guessed himself. “I thought about getting up and rolling out,” he said. He recalled doing that in 1998, when he was with the Giants, in a game against Tampa Bay. “I did the Garo Yepremian,” he said, meaning he threw a ruptured-duck pass. He tried it again in 2005 when he was with the Bears, on a windy day in San Francisco. His pass went kaput.
“I’m not sure rolling out would have done anything for us,” he said.
With the miss, the score remained tied. With 1:55 remaining, Cincinnati's offense had time for a few short runs and one big pass - putting the ball in position for Mike Nugent to attempt a 26 yarder with 41 seconds remaining. The kick was good. Afterward he briefly discussed the final drive, but was more interested in talking kickoffs:
“The fact that the offense moved the ball down the field like they did was the real game-winner....
Josh Cribbs is a guy you really have to prepare for; the coaches did a great job getting us ready for him. I’m a little disappointed that I gave him the opportunities to return the ball, but the team did a good job stopping him.”

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Big Kickers on Campus, 2011 week 13

A summary of notable kicking during the thirteenth week of the 2011 college football season:

Senior kicker Justin Tucker hit a 40 yard field goal as time expired to give Texas a 27-25 win over Texas A&M.
"[My dad] would tell me a game situation. 'OK, three seconds left, no timeouts, it's going to be a 40-yarder to beat A&M.' We would visualize every school in the Big 12, every big bowl game, so when I have an opportunity like I had [Thursday night], I would be prepared to do exactly what I did a thousand times before. Just knock it down the middle....
My feet were kind of shaking. I felt like the ground might have been moving a little bit because it was pretty loud."What more could you ask for in a college football game? A fierce rivalry that comes down to the final play."
Sophomore kicker Cameron Starke hit a 35 yard field goal as time expired to give James Madison a 20-17 win over Eastern Kentucky.
"The only thing I do when the wind is in my face is I really make sure I don't get as much height on the ball. Especially in a wind like that, I just make sure ... I get a really solid hit."
Freshman kicker Michael Hunnicutt made four field goals (20, 28, 37 & 21 yards) in Oklahoma's 26-6 win over Iowa State.

Senior kicker Giorgio Tavecchio made four field goals (48, 27, 19 & 30 yards) in California's 47-38 win over Arizona State.
"God knows how I got to Cal and God knows where I will go in the future, but one thing is for certain- my time here has been incredible. From the times of struggle, whether it was on or off the field to the times of success, I cannot believe the experiences that I have been a part of. For this, I have to thank the Cal football program for giving me this unbelievable opportunity, thank my teammates for making it so memorable and thank my family and friends for sticking with me through it all. "Tanto, se tutto va bene siamo rovinati!" I truly lived the dream...God Bless and Go Bears!"
If we missed someone that should be on the above list, please let us know!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Grey Cup 2011: Justin Palardy vs. Paul McCallum

The younger kicker has been in the league two years. The elder kicker has been around seemingly forever (actually it has been 19 years). They and their teams will face each other Sunday evening as the 2011 CFL season concludes in the 99th Grey Cup.

Justin Palardy, 

Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Playing for a cup in year number two is becoming a pattern for Palardy:.
"It’s kind of similar when I played at Saint Mary’s and we went to the Vanier Cup in my second year. It’s great. I get an opportunity early in my career to win a Grey Cup and, hopefully, we can do that....
We played the Lions twice and we beat them both times, but that was a different Lions team and they are playing really good ball right now. But we’ve just got to play our game. Our defence has to be on, our special teams have to be special and our offence has to move the ball and, if we can do all that, hopefully at the end of the day we’re holding the Grey Cup."
If he is called upon in the game, he'll approach it the same as he always does.
"You just have to stay focused and control what you can control and that's kicking field goals. I'll be a cheerleader for my teammates on the sidelines and when it's time to do my job I'll step up and do it."

Paul McCallum, B.C. Lions

Last night, McCallum was named the CFL’s most outstanding special teams player:
McCallum, 41, was the night's surprise winner, receiving 42 votes to get the nod over Toronto's Chad Owens, last year's special-teams winner. McCallum, the CFL's oldest player, hit 50-of-53 field goals, his 94.3 per cent success ratio breaking Lui Passaglia's league mark of 90.9. McCallum also made a CFL-record 30 consecutive field goals and was the league's scoring leader with 203 points. "It probably took me 12 years to figure out what I needed to do," McCallum said in explaining why he's kicking so well in his 19th CFL season. "I don't try to hit the ball as hard as I used to, I hit it as hard as I have to. I still feel I can do it, I feel good, I feel strong and feel good doing it."
McCallum is not alone in continued improvement, as he noted after receiving the award:
“I look on this as an affirmation of what we do. There are a lot of great kickers in this league, and they keep getting better and better.”

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Lou Groza & Ray Guy Awards: 2011 Finalists

The three finalists for the 20th
Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award were announced yesterday:

Randy Bullock, Texas A&M
"Bullock, from Klein, Texas, has had a spectacular senior season. The Big 12 Conference leader in field goals has already matched the season school record of 21 field goals, which was set originally by Scott Slater in 1986. He has scored 114 points this season, which is No. 2 in school history behind only Joel Hunt's 84-year old school standard of 128 points in 1927. Bullock has connected on 21-of-25 three-point attempts for an impressive 84.0 percent success rate (No. 2 in school history). He has also connected on 51 extra points, which matches the school record originally set by Terry Venetoulias in 1993 and matched previously by Bullock in 2009. The most accurate placekicker in school history, Bullock has connected on 55-of-73 field goal attempts during his career. Bullock is A&M's career leader in points scored with 337, and he ranks No. 1 in career extra points (172) and No. 4 in career field goals."
Dustin Hopkins, Florida State
"Hopkins, the junior from Houston, Texas has made 20 of 24 field goals this season and has been a perfect 41 for 41 in PATs. Saturday’s PAT brings Hopkins’ school record streak of consecutive extra points to 127 while only 76 points stand between Hopkins and Florida State’s all-time leading scoring record. Hopkins is tied for fourth in the nation in field goals per game and is the highest scoring kicker in the Atlantic Coast Conference with 101 points."
Caleb Sturgis, Florida
"Sturgis, a native of St. Augustine, Fla., is tied for second in the nation with 21 field goals made on the season. He has converted 21 of 25 field goal attempts (84.0 percent) and has made all 27 extra point attempts. Sturgis is tied for 14th in the nation in kicking points (90) and has made at least one field goal in every game he has played this season, including multiple conversions in eight of 10 appearances. Before missing a 52-yard attempt against Alabama, Sturgis had made 14-straight field goals dating back to last season, a streak that was the third-longest in school history. He kicked a 55-yard field goal against Furman, giving him three field goals from 50-or-more yards on the season, tied for the most in the nation. Sturgis holds the school record with five made field goals of 50-or-more yards. In his career, Sturgis has made 45 of 59 field goal attempts (76.3 percent) and 92 of 96 extra points. He has accounted for 227 points as a Gator, ranking fourth all-time in Florida history."
The three finalists for the 12th Ray Guy Award were announced yesterday:

Ryan Allen, Louisiana Tech
"Ranked fourth in the nation with an average of 46.4 yards per punt, Allen leads the nation in both punts inside the 20 (36) and punts inside the 10 (19). Allen has averaged 47 or more yards per punt in six games this year while averaging more than 50 yards in two games this year. The Salem, Ore., native has recorded better stats than the other two finalists in several punting categories this year, including number of punts, total punting yardage, punting average per game, longest punt of the season, more punts inside the 20, more punts inside the 10, more 50-plus yard punts than the other two finalists.Allen and the Bulldogs (7-4, 5-1 WAC) host New Mexico State (4-7, 2-3) in the team’s regular season finale."
Steven Clark, Auburn
"It's an honor to be mentioned," Clark said. "I don't really believe awards are something you achieve, it's just something that happens." Clark is averaging 40.4 yards per punt, but his value has come in his high punts that have limited the number of returns. He has 30 punts inside the 20, which is the best in the Southeastern Conference and tied for second in the nation. Only eight of his punts have been returned, and for just 41 yards. Thirty-three punts have ended in fair catches. Two have gone for touchbacks.
Jackson Rice, Oregon
"Rice, a junior from Moraga, Calif., leads the Pac-12 and ranks sixth in the nation with a punting average of 45.60 and has been a key contributor for an Oregon squad that ranks second in the NCAA in net punting (41.85). Only 12 of Rice’s 40 punts on the season have been returned and he has placed 16 inside the 20-yard line. Rice's current average is the second-highest in a single season in UO history, while his career mark of 42.5 yards per punt ranks third all-time at the school."

Monday, November 21, 2011

NFL Week Eleven: Inches & Seconds

Around the NFL yesterday...

In Cleveland, kicker Phil Dawson hit a 38 yard field goal attempt above the uprights during the Browns 14-10 win over Jacksonville. The officials ruled it wide right. Dawson disagreed with the ruling.
"It was good. The rule states that if the ball is above the upright, it's good. And that ball wasn't even close to being over the upright.... I'm a little confused, if you can't review a play where the ball is above the upright, why would you ever need a review to begin with? I'm pretty fired up. It's probably as upset as I've been in a long time. I think everybody knows how I felt about it.
I hit it where I was aiming. I remember one like that against New England a long, long time ago and it was good. Fortunately our defense stepped up and made some plays at the end and we won and I won't get run out of town this week. The good news is that we won the game and I get to keep my job another week. That's the life I live and those are some scary times."
In Washington, both kickers got an opportunity to win the game in overtime. For the Redskins, Graham Gano was wide right on a 52 yard attempt:
“Missed it. That’s it. No excuses. Just missed it. It felt good, but obviously wasn’t.
It’s very frustrating. I don’t feel any pressure out there whatsoever. I love those opportunities, and not to be able to pull through, it’s very frustrating.... I think just like anyone else, I’m pissed off, but I have to move on. It was a long field goal, and the odds of making them aren’t great, but I definitely feel like I’m more than capable of making them. … I’ve shown plenty that I’m mentally fine. I make big kicks all the time. I just missed it.”
For the Cowboys, Dan Bailey's hot streak continued as he connected from 39 yards, giving Dallas a 27-24 win.
"You’ve just got to go out there and execute it when you’re supposed to. It’s not all me. I’ve got good blocking and obviously the offense and the defense played really well today. It’s not just me out there. It’s 10 other guys."
It’s tough to recreate those situations in practice. You can to an extent, but yeah, definitely having that earlier in the season kind of helped me mentally with knowing what to expect.”
In Minnesota, a 49 yard field goal attempt went awry during the Vikings 27-21 loss to the Raiders. There is little room for adjustments during a process that only lasts 1.3 seconds. Punter/holder Chris Kluwe discussed the play:
"Just bobbled the snap, didn't get it down in time for Ryan to hit it. With a shorter [kick], he can maybe save it by punching it through. But when it's a mid-40-yard field goal, I just wasn't quick enough getting the ball down."
Kicker Ryan Longwell added:
"It's just all rhythm from that range. I have to have faith in Kluwe that he's going to get it down. He did. So I have to hang a little longer. But 49 yards, it's all rhythm. And we were just a little off."

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Big Kickers on Campus, 2011 week 12

A summary of notable kicking during the twelfth week of the 2011 college football season:

Junior kicker Coleman Petersen made a 38 yard field goal in overtime to give Utah a 30-27 victory over Washington State.
"Once I cleared off my spot, I don’t ever step in snow. My cleats were clean and my spot was clean, so I don’t have any slips."
Sophomore kicker Tyler Sievertsen made a 36 yard field goal in overtime to give Northern Iowa a 23-20 win over Illinois State.
"It's pretty unreal. That's what you dream about. When I go to bed at night, I dream of that moment. It finally happened, and I'm hoping there's more to come."
Freshman kicker Ty Long hit a 38 yard field goal with 3:04 remaining to give UAB a 34-31 win over Southern Miss.

Sophomore kicker Mathew Sims made a 23 yard field goal with 2:46 remaining to tie the game and a 34 yarder game winner with eights seconds left as Northern Illinois won 41-38 over Ball State.
"That was the first time ever I got a game-winning kick, high school or college."
Junior kicker Matt Weller's fifth field goal of the game, a 23 yarder as time expired, gave Ohio a 29-28 victory over Bowling Green.
"Lining up the kick, I thought that I would have never felt the same if I missed it. The timeout didn’t bother me. I think that actually was an advantage for me because I had time to visualize the kick."
Junior kicker Jake Wieclaw hit 36 yard field goal on the final play to give Miami a 6-3 win over South Florida.
"We kind of go over pressure situations every week in practice, so it's something I'm fairly used to. (The kick was) exactly that. We have our pressure situations usually on Thursday, so, yeah, it's nothing new."
Sophomore kicker Sean Baner hit four field goals (26, 34, 40 & 29 yards) in Delaware's 26-16 win over Villanova.

Senior kicker Blair Walsh hit four field goals (39, 39, 25 & 39 yards) in Georgia's 19-10 win over Kentucky.
"It was awesome to come out and be dependable for your team when they needed you. It’s a big confidence-builder and it was nice to have it on this type of stage.... It’s been rough. It hasn’t been the season I’ve wanted it to be, but it’s all about the team when it comes down to it. Football’s a team sports and we’re the SEC East champs, and I couldn’t be happier."
If we missed someone that should be on the above list, please let us know!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Whole Lotta Extras

Discussion of kicking records typically centers around field goals - such as longest, most, and accuracy. The oft overlooked category of extra points will surface this weekend with the induction of Matt Stover into the Baltimore Ravens' Ring of Honor. Among his NFL records is most consecutive extra points made. From 1996 through 2009 he hit 422 in a row. How did he do it?
“I never, ever, ever went out there thinking it was easy."
His total comfortably surpassed the now second place total of 371, set first by Jason Elam and then tied by Jeff Wilkins. When the latter was within striking distance of the former, Elam commented on the feat:
"That's a lot of extra points. If you think about it, there's a lot that can go wrong, so it's not just a tribute to the kicker. You've got the whole teamwork issue going on there. The snapper, the holder and all the guys up front. If you get over 200, that's a pretty good thing. I would've never guessed that I'd have been able to put together something like that. Along the way, you're going to have some weird things happen. You know, you might have a ball tipped, and it might still go through. Or you might not get the ideal hold. Or you just might mishit one. There's going to be some times along the way that things just aren't ideal. So it is quite something that Jeff's still going with it. When he gets the record, tell him I said congratulations. I think a lot of him, and I'll be happy for him when he gets there."
The totals aren't as high for college kickers, however they only have a four year window of opportunity. Former FCS record holder Taylor Rowan set a mark of 129 at Western Illinois. In a prior interview, he discussed why that is a lot harder than it sounds?
"Starting out in my freshman year we were playing Toledo. I remember going two-for-two in that game and my coach saying, ‘let’s see how long we can keep that up.’ It’s not just a kick. A lot of fans say, ‘Well it’s easy to kick a ball through the uprights’, which it is – but when you add in a rush and a hold and a snap, everything has to be perfect every time. So going 129 straight over four consecutive years is pretty tough. Especially when you’re kicking six or seven extra points in a game, some times it’s easy to get a little bit relaxed and pull one left or right. But the continuous form from twenty yards out isn’t a given. I definitely had a great snapper and holder during the whole process."
As of the middle of last month, Georgia Southern kicker Adrian Mora is now the FCS record  holder at 143 and counting.
"We, as a special teams unit, like to take every kick as the most important one. We were focused and I never had any doubts that it was going to go through. Having a bunch of reliable guys makes it a lot easier.... They got the record-breaking ball, and I wish I could split it with all 11 guys because it’s definitely a tribute to them."
As he heads into his final game of his senior season this Saturday, he probably won't kick 280 extra points and surpass Stover. But if he does add to his total, it will be with the same approach as always:
"One game, one kick at a time. That helps you stay on focus. You have to take it just one play at a time and think about what you can do to help the team each play."

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Long Distance Punters

Who's been punting the ball a long way this year? Following are the top three current statistical leaders in various leagues.

NFL - Gross Punting Average
51.7 Shane Lechler, Oakland
50.5 Andy Lee, San Francisco
49.8 Mike Scifres, San Diego

NFL - Net Punting Average
43.8 Andy Lee, San Francisco
42.6 Britton Colquitt, Denver
42.5 Thomas Morstead, New Orleans

CFL - Gross Punting Average
47.2 Burke Dales, Calgary
47.0 Damon Duval, Edmonton
43.3 Noel Prefontaine, Toronto

NCAA FBS - 
Gross Punting Average
47.0 Bobby Cowan, Idaho
46.8 Ian Campbell, UTEP
46.8 Jackson Rice, Oregon

NCAA FCS - 
Gross Punting Average
48.8 David Harrington, Idaho State
46.1 Jonathan Plisco, Old Dominion
44.4 Patrick Murray, Fordham

NCAA Division II - Gross Punting Average
48.6 Taylor Accardi, Colorado Mines
45.1 Randy Weich, Wayne State (NE)
44.4 Ethan Kosjer, Fort Hays State

NCAA Division III - Gross Punting Average
43.9 Cote Schacherl, Howard Payne
42.6 Jordan Gay, Centre
42.6 Christian Hallingstad, Wis.-La Crosse

NAIA - Gross Punting Average
43.9 Matt Klingler, St. Ambrose (Iowa)
43.5 Chris Heale, Missouri Valley
43.4 Tyler Crowley, Southern Oregon

Monday, November 14, 2011

NFL Week Ten: Records, Surprises & Grooves

Around the NFL yesterday...

In Seattle, Steven Hauschka joined Norm Johnson, Olindo Mare and Todd Peterson in the Seahawks' record book by kicking five field goals in a game. He connected from 22, 38, 39, 35 & 30 yards during the 22-17 victory over Baltimore.
“I guess it’s a fun day for a kicker to be part of the game like that. It would have been nice to get a couple scores on offense … we did a great job today as a team....
I think I’ve done a good job. You notice a lot of kickers come in here, there’s been missed kicks. There also haven’t been many touchbacks. It’s a tough place to kick I think. It’s a lot easier to kick inside or in warm weather. We don’t really get above 60 degrees here much for home games, so those touchbacks are hard to get.”
On the other side of the field for the Ravens, Billy Cundiff made a 35 yarder, but didn't fair as well from long range - coming up short on a 50 yard attempt and wide on a 52 yarder. Changing winds were a factor:
“In pregame, going both ways, we backed up to the 58, and I was really happy there. I hit the ball extremely well in pregame, and then when we came out there, the wind kind of shifted and it was in our face. The 50-yard field goal, which I thought would’ve been very easy, I thought I hit the ball extremely well, and I played it right down the line that I wanted, and the wind caught it and threw it down. You can look at the ball flight and tell whether you guided it or not by how fast the ball spun, but for the ball to work right to left, that tells me that I didn’t spin it. So I actually got after it and hit it well. Kind of frustrating to think that ball was missed.”
In San Francisco, David Akers continued to pile up field goals, adding four more to his season total. He also had a notable kickoff during the 49ers 27-20 win over the Giants. His surprise onside kickoff during the second quarter was successfully recovered by one of his team mates.
"It's more of a calculated risk. You don't try it on everybody. You don't try to come back and sting somebody twice with it, either. It's one of those things, if you can get it at a time when you're really not thinking this is going to be an onside kick."
In Dallas, Dan Bailey also continued to pile up field goals - adding three more to his ongoing streak. He also resumed handling kickoffs since David Buehler was placed on IR earlier in the week.
"I felt like I was in a pretty good groove. It helps being here because this is a great place to kick the ball. It carries really well here. I know I can do it. I just have to get in that groove and find the sweet spot on the ball and find a good approach. I can still improve but I thought it was definitely improvement from previous games with the kickoffs....
I might have miss-hit [the short one]. I was trying a little too much with direction. I should have just stuck with my groove. I shouldn't have changed it up, live and learn on that one."

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Big Kickers on Campus, 2011 week 11

A summary of notable kicking during the eleventh week of the 2011 college football season:

Sophomore kicker Chandler Cantanzaro hit a 43 yard field goal as time expired to give Clemson a 31-28 victory over Wake Forest.
"I said it all offseason: There were a lot of people that doubted me, maybe. But I always had a strong belief in myself and my teammates, and my coaches did. I just used last season as a learning experience. I had some adversity, but I rose above it. I worked so hard in the off- season to get an opportunity like this again, and I'm just so glad it came to me. And for the division (title), that's pretty cool....
[Morten Andersen] said that whenever he was iced, he just used it as a positive. I just took some dry swings and just got ready to trust it, and that's what I did."
Senior kicker Marcus Williams made a 20 yard field goal with 57 seconds left in the game to give Wartburg a 24-21 win over Luther.

Sophomore kicker Patton Chambers hit a 29 yard field goal with nine seconds left to give Miles a 20-17 victory over Albany State.
"I was hoping we got closer because I don’t like taking those 40-yard kicks under pressure. After David made that run, I knew that was destiny."
Senior kicker Abelardo Perez made a 37 yard field goal with 5:49 remaining to give San Diego State an 18-15 win over Colorado State.

Sophomore kicker Eric Eberle hit a 34 yard field goal as time expired to give Washington & Jefferson a 24-21 victory over Waynesburg.

Junior kicker David Brown's 30 yard field goal with 2:49 remaining in the third quarter prove to be the game winner as Youngstown State beat North Dakota State 27-24.

Junior kicker Felipe Alfaia's fourth field goal of the game, a 35 yarder as time expired, gave Northern State a 39-36 win over the University of Mary.
"I was a little nervous, but then Coach (Tom) Dosch told me a couple of jokes so I wouldn't get nervous when I went out there. I went through my steps and kicked the ball and got lucky and made it.... It was great. It was the best feeling in the world."
Freshman kicker Eddie Camara hit a 19 yard field goal with 1:02 left in the game to give Central Arkansas a 23-22 win over Texas State.

Junior kicker Scott Andrews made an 18 yard field goal with two seconds left to lift Juniata 17-16 over Susquehanna.

Senior kicker Danny Hrapmann made five field goals (28, 22, 44, 46 & 48 yards) in Southern Miss's 30-29 victory over Central Florida.
"It was a good game, but I guess because it was close it didn't feel like a good game. I don't feel like I had a great night on kickoffs. That's part of my job and I feel like I had a poor night of doing that. I feel like I didn't have a great night."
Sophomore kicker Drew Stewart hit a school-record six field goals (44, 32, 29, 21, 27 & 24 yards) in Appalachian State's 46-14 win over Western Carolina.

If we missed someone that should be on the above list, please let us know!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Groza Talk 2011: in the Beginning

"I used to get a kick out of kicking the ball over the telephone wires when we would play touch football in the street."
- Lou Groza

How does someone end up becoming a football kicker? We asked several of this year's Lou Groza Award semi-finalists, "How did it all begin?"

Jimmy Newman,
"As a little kid, I grew up playing soccer around the age of five. I transferred to a public school in my area in 8th grade and the coaches asked me to come out and just try it. I ended up making all my attempts that year and started taking private lessons. As a 9th grader I attended my first real camp at Chris Sailer's Las Vegas event. That was the exact moment that I knew I wanted to play in college and decided I was going to put forth all the focus and training it would take to get to that level."

"Started out in high school at Brandon High in Mississippi... From there my dad set me up with Jamie Kohl with Kohls kicking. Been working with them for about five years now and they have been incredible. Ended up and Lafayette,LA and love it here. Could not be here without God's blessing and of course my parents."

Andrew Furney, Washington State
"My first ever experience playing football was my freshman year of high school and at the time was not interested in trying to kick what so ever. After a large amount of the season and a small amount of playing time at other positions, my mom recommended I try it. At the time our freshman team already had a kicker that was already given the varsity job for the following season pretty much. One day in our last practice of the week before our game the kicker didn't show up for practice so I was, with hesitation, allowed to kick the extra points in practice. I winged my steps and made all four of the attempts. The coaches were shocked and then said "alright you're going to start kicking for us." The following summer I found out I would be the starting kicker for the varsity team after the news of the other kicker who was supposed to get the job failed four classes and would be ineligible for the first four games. In my first game I made my first every field goal attempt which was 42 yards. I later went on to become 1st team all state that season and the two seasons following that as well."

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Other Side

In a change of perspective, this month we asked our consulting experts about their experiences with players on the other side of the field. Specifically, we posed the following questions:
What is the most memorable kicking/punting/snapping performance or moment that you ever witnessed in person by your counterpart on the opposing team?
-or-
What is the most important thing you ever learned by watching or talking to your counterpart on the opposing team before/during/after a game?
"I was able to witness Jason Elam kick his 63 yard field goal at the end of the first half of the Jaguars / Broncos game in 1998.
Watching Jason Hanson in pre-game warm ups is very humbling! Even during high school when I played against him!"

Brooks Rossman, Kansas City Kicking
"Mason Crosby in 2006 Colorado vs Kansas State lines up for a 47 yard game winning field goal. CU takes the delay of game penalty to run the clock down to one second. They back up five yards for the penalty. Crosby drills a 52 yard game winning field goal that clears the top of the uprights. It was unbelievable that CU had the confidence in Crosby to push him back five yards and know he is still going to drill it. The game was played in KS not CO."

"Burke Dales, my teammate, has always stressed the importance of only focusing on your next ball. All you can do.
Coach Bill Renner always told me to focus on a pure ball strike.
Paul McCallum told me to focus on being relaxed and exploding at the perfect time.
Short, but sweet. I feel like that is some of the better advice I've heard."

"I never really knew my counterpart specialists personally back in high school & college. Facebook wasn't around for me to connect and really get to know the other specialists in my conference. But the one kicking memory that I can remember back in high school, came when we were playing Cooper, our arch rival. Their kicker Dan Nystrom was getting D1 looks and ended up going to play for the Minnesota Gophers. I think he had kicked two 50 yard FGs earlier in the season which got him on their radar. In our game against them, I believe he missed a FG and we blocked his PAT. Naturally, being that they were the team we hated the most, wondering why he was that good & getting college looks, when we stopped him. But he went on to have a pretty good career for the Gophers and a stint in the NFL. So he was always fun to follow in college. Also at that point I didn't think much of it then. But when he got to college he went on a streak of not missing any FGs or PATs for a long time. When he did finally miss, I figured out that his last miss previous to that streak, was against our HS team. I guess growing up, I always thought that was kind of a cool connection, that we were responsible for his last miss before he went on his kicking streak."

"I remember speaking with Sean Landeta after a game early in my NFL career. I had an okay game, but not my best. He mentioned that it looked like I was trying too hard (really going after the kick.) He went on to say that the kicking game is all about maturation and the longer you can stay in the league, the more mature you become, which will improve your longevity. That helped me to realize that it is about improving your mental training which will allow you to trust your technique."

Monday, November 7, 2011

NFL Week Nine: Not As Planned

Yesterday saw quite a few mishaps on special teams plays around the NFL. In Arizona, the visiting Rams and kicker Josh Brown saw their potential game winning field goal at the end of regulation blocked. The Cardinals went on to win the game 19-13 in overtime on a punt return TD.
A frantic sequence at the end of regulation ended with the Rams taking their third and final timeout following an 8-yard run up the middle by Steven Jackson. Four ticks remained on the clock when Brown trotted out to attempt his fourth field goal of the game; he had hit from 48, 37, and 41 yards in the first half to give the Rams a 9-3 halftime lead. That's when Campbell got some penetration over the Rams' left side and smacked down what would've been Brown's eighth game-winning field goal of his NFL career. "I feel like the operation was good; I feel like the snap and hold was good," Brown said. "The kick was fine. It felt fine. ... Big 93 (Campbell) used his big arms and got through there somewhere."
In Buffalo, the Bills lost 27-11 to the visiting Jets and kicker Rian Lindell suffered an injury
Kicker Rian Lindell injured his right shoulder while making a touchdown-saving tackle after a kickoff to start the third quarter of the Buffalo Bills' 27-11 loss to the New York Jets. Lindell said he fell awkwardly while making a tackle on Joe McKnight, who returned the kick 59 yards to the Buffalo 45. While Lindell didn't handle kickoffs after that play, he did boot a 24-yard field goal later in the quarter. Lindell had further testing on the shoulder after the game and didn't know if the injury was significant enough to keep him out of the lineup for the Bills' game next Sunday in Dallas. "I certainly hope not," he said. "It could be a deal where I have to wear a tight T-shirt and see how it goes." Punter Brian Moorman handled kickoff duties for the remainder of the game.
In Kansas City, the Chiefs lost 31-3 to the visiting Dolphins and an attempt at trickery unexpectedly put the ball in the hands of Dustin Colquitt:
Punter Dustin Colquitt said there was miscommunication Sunday on what was supposed to be a fake field goal. Instead, a confused-looking Colquitt was left holding the ball, and he ran into the defense for a turnover on downs. “We weren’t all on the same page,” he said. Colquitt said the play was designed to be a pooch punt, in which kicker Ryan Succop was supposed to field the snap. Instead, the snap went to Colquitt. “Tried to make something from nothing,” he said.
In New England, the Patriots lost 24-20 to the visiting Giants and kicker Stephen Gostkowski missed a 27 yard field goal attempt in the closing seconds of the first half:
"Just a bad kick, bad execution on my part. Everything was good besides my kick, which is just disappointing. To screw up an opportunity like that, it's a hard pill to swallow, especially when you come up on the short end of the stick.... I could go out there and probably make 100 of those in a row, but you have to be able to do it when it's your time. I have to do a better job getting ready to make every kick. That's unacceptable. It's an awful feeling to come up on the short end of the stick as a team and personally to give us a chance to carry some momentum into the half, and on a kick I could make left-footed that I just completely blew, it's just not a good feeling."

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Big Kickers on Campus, 2011 week 10

A summary of notable kicking during the tenth week of the 2011 college football season:

Junior kicker Drew Alleman hit a 25 yard field goal to give no. 1 LSU a 9-6 overtime win over no. 2 Alabama.
"It was a field goal type game. It was 3-0, 3-3, 6-3 and then 6-6. You just knew it might happen.... Every day I was preparing for it mentally and in practice.... It’s great. It’s wonderful. Every kicker dreams it. I got to live it. It was amazing."
Senior kicker Louis Feinstein made a 27 yard field goal with 1:30 remaining to give Rhode Island a 24-21 win over William & Mary.

Freshman kicker Jake Gould hit his first career field goal as time expired from 20 yards out to give Rose-Hulman a 53-50 victory over Anderson (IN).

Junior kicker Devin Rounds kicked a 23-yard field goal with eight seconds left Saturday to lift Black Hills State 10-7 over Minot State.

Freshman kicker Tony Miliano's 41 yard field goal, his fourth of the game, with 14:49 remaining proved to be the winner as Cincinnati defeated Pittsburgh 26-23.
“When you got out in the game you go back to basics and fundamentals. That’s what happened.”
Sophomore kicker Ryan Murphy's 31 yard field goal with seven seconds left gave Chowan a 38-35 win over Bowie State.

Senior kicker Chris Vortkamp’s 33 yard field goal with 8:55 left in the game were the final points in Ohio Dominican's 20-17 win over Ashland.

Junior kicker Brandon Mulloy’s 23 yard field goal with 35 seconds remaining gave Quincy a 38-35 win over Malone.

Senior kicker Zach Guyer’s 42 yard field with 4:30 remaining lifted Iowa State 13-10 over Kansas.
“I knew I had it. I hit the ground a little bit so I knew it was going to be a little low, but it was right down the middle.”
Junior kicker Stephen Velasquez hit a 25 yard field goal with six minutes left to give Virginia Union a 17-14 win over Fayetteville State.

Freshman kicker Sean Murray kicked a 31 yard field goal to tie the score as time expired in regulation and kicked the winning 30 yarder in overtime as St. Francis (IL) beat Georgia State 30-27.

Sophomore kicker Joe Mallock made a 40 yard field goal with 4:48 remaining in the game to give Williams a 19-17 victory over Wesleyan.
"When I hit it I wasn't sure it was gonna go through, but I was sure happy when it did."
Junior kicker Max Martin hit a 49 yard field goal with 13 seconds remaining to give Wayne State (NE) a 34-32 win over Augustana (SD).

Sophomore kicker Zeb Miller hit his second game winner in as many weeks with a 29 yarder as time expired to give North Dakota a 15-13 win over the University of Sioux Falls.

Senior kicker Steven Schott’s fourth field goal of the game, a 44 yarder with nine seconds left, gave Ball State a 33-31 win over Eastern Michigan.
"We practice for that situation all the time. I just tried to do my job. I just keep my mind clear of distractions. I had a feeling they were going to call their timeouts, but I just didn't let it bother me. The snap and hold were good and the blocking was excellent."
Senior kicker Chris Marini hit a 24 yard field goal with 2:39 remaining to give Waynesburg University a 26-23 victory over previously undefeated Thomas More.

Freshman kicker Jesse Shore made a 38 yard field goal with two seconds left in the game to give Marietta College a 30-27 victory over Otterbein University.

Senior kicker Greg Zuerlein's school record 58 yard field goal with 11 seconds remaing in the third quarter proved to be the game winner in Missouri Western's 31-28 win over Northwest Missouri State.

Senior kicker Casey Tinius hit a 34 yard field goal on the final play of the game to give Western Kentucky a 10-9 win over Florida International.
"Our team deserved that. My teammates deserve, whether it's Jesse or me, a kicker to go out there and get the job done."
Senior kicker San San Te's 37 yard field goal in over time gave Rutgers a 20-17 victory over South Florida.

Sophomore kicker Evan Finch hit a 20 yard field goal in overtime to lift Hope College 24-21 over Adrian College.
"The last field goal I had (a chance) to win was a bad snap and I didn’t get to kick it. “It was my sophomore year of high school (at Ann Arbor Pioneer), so it’s nice to redeem that one. It came off right. It felt really nice. Then to see the team running out after me was a great feeling."
Junior kicker Jimmie Mattson made a 25 yard field goal with five seconds remaining to give Saint John's a 27-24 win over St. Olaf.

If we missed someone that should be on the above list, please let us know!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Fred Mitchell Award October 2011 Recognizees, part 3

The Fred Mitchell Award recognized 36 place-kickers for their excellence on the football field and in the community during the month of October. A blue-ribbon Selection Committee evaluates place-kickers that are nominated by their schools. Members of the Pro and/or College Football Hall of Fame on the Selection Committee include Tom Beck, Kevin Butler, Paul Hornung, Marv Levy, Steve McMichael, Don Pierson and Gale Sayers. Several former football players that are active in their communities are also on the Selection Committee including Sean Gothier, Dan Jiggetts, Jeff Michalczyk, Mark Murphy, Rob Perry, Jeff Schebler, Bob Thomas, Todd Wilkins, Gary Zauner and Rob Zvonar. There are eight former college or NFL place-kickers on the Selection Committee, including Jeff Schebler, the inaugural Fred Mitchell Award recipient in 2009 and the highest-scoring place-kicker in NCAA history at any level.

In alphabetical order, the final third of the Fred Mitchell Award honorees for October 2011 are listed below.

KYLE MAJOR, Colorado State University-Pueblo – Division II
Senior from Littleton, CO….leads the 4th ranked ThunderWolves in scoring with 86 points from 18 of 24 FG’s and 32 of 33 PAT’s….only missed FG in September was from 61 yards and misses in October were from 40+ yards including three from 50+….leads Division II in made FG’s…. broke previous school record in October for most FG’s in a season when he made his 16th FG….four-time Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Special Teams Player of the Week this season including twice in October….school’s all-time leader in FG’s and points….speaks to local elementary and middle schools about sportsmanship and motivation….visits the St. Mary-Corwin Hospital during the football season to lift the spirits of sick children

JIMMIE MATTSON, St. John’s University (Minnesota) – Division III
Junior from Eau Claire, WI….leads the Johnnies in scoring with 6 of 6 FG’s and 24 or 28 PAT’s….scored 26 points in October from 5 of 5 FG’s and 11 of 12 PAT’s….13 of 13 in FG’s during his SJU career….tied school record with a 52-yard FG at Gustavus Adolphus on October 22….made a 45-yard FG against Bethel on October 8….named MIAC Special Teams Player of the Week on October 31….averaging 60 yards on 41 kickoffs….volunteered with the Eau Claire Area Youth Football camp each of the past three summers….has volunteered with the Eau Claire Salvation Army each of the last three seasons….read and helped at Eau Claire Elementary School as a classroom volunteer during breaks and summers each of the past three years

ADRIAN MORA, Georgia Southern University - FCS
Senior from Dalton, GA….leads the Eagles in scoring with 75 points from 11 of 11 FG’s and 42 of 42 PAT’s…. scored 44 points in October from 7 of 7 FG’s and 23 of 23 PAT’s….holds school and FCS records for most consecutive PAT’s (137)….led the team in scoring each of the past three seasons ….56 of 66 career FG’s…. broke school record in October for the most career FG’s….has not missed a PAT in his career….scored 12 points in 50-20 win over Furman on October 15….volunteers at the local Boys and Girls Club as mentor, tutor and participant in after-school athletics….reads to local elementary school students as part of the Real Men Read program of the Bulloch Board of Education….Relay for Life volunteer…participates in school’s Little Eagles Camp

JAMES NEAL, Lindenwood University (Missouri) – Division II
Sophomore from Mansfield, TX....leads the Lions in scoring with 71 points from 9 of 10 FG’s and 44 of 46 PAT’s….scored 42 points in October from 5 of 6 FG’s and 27 of 28 PAT’s….kicked game-winning 21-yard FG as time expired and scored 10 points to beat FBS Northern Colorado 22-20 for the biggest regular season win in school history….made career-long 44-yard FG and scored season-high 11 points against Graceland on September 10 and scored 11 points again on October 8 in 41-35 win over Texas A&M-Kingsville….surpassed 100 career points in September in his 13th game and finished October with 156 career points…averaging 56 yards on 14 kickoffs…counselor at Camp Crucis

ANDREW NIELSEN, Doane College (Nebraska) – NAIA
Senior from North Platte, NE….leads the 17th ranked Tigers with 55 points from 10 of 14 FG’s and 25 of 28 PAT’s…scored 25 points in October from 5 of 7 FG’s and 10 of 13 PAT’s…named GPAC Special Teams Player of the Week two times including after scoring 9 points in 33-28 win over then-19th ranked Dakota Wesleyan on October 22….scored 7 points in 43-39 win over then-14th ranked Midland on October 1….averaging 64 yards on 48 kickoffs….participated in the football team’s volunteer project to help relocate the local TrueValue Hardware store to a new location in October

MATT RAWSON, Amherst College (Massachusetts) – Division III
Senior from Bethesda, MD….2nd on the undefeated Lord Jeffs with 47 points from 9 of 11 FG’s and 20 of 21 PAT’s…scored 39 points in October from 7 of 9 FG’s and 18 of 19 PAT’s….scored 12 points in 48-28 win over Middlebury on October 8 making him the school’s all-time leader in career FG’s….kicked career-long 45-yard FG in 24-10 win over Wesleyan on October 22….made first 18 PAT attempts in October before missing at a rain-soaked Tufts field….leads NESCAC in FG’s (9) and PAT’s (21)….4 of 5 on FG’s of 37+ yards….currently tied for school records for single-season FG’s (9) and career points (148)….participated in Relay for Life….Habitat for Humanity volunteer….intern at Mississippi Teacher Corps which aims to improve the education opportunities for school children with critical needs

SCOTT ROCHE, Wheaton College (Illinois) – Division III
Senior from Evergreen, CO…leads the team in scoring with 66 points from 13 of 16 FG’s and 27 of 34 PAT’s….scored 37 points in October….scored 13 points in 49-21 win over Elmhurst College on October 8….averaging 61 yards on 59 kickoffs….works with area youths as a leader in the Young Life program at a nearby high school for three nights each week….volunteered for Feed My Starving Children by packaging approximately 1,000 meals for those in need….actively participates in the football program’s ministry project each year during Spring Break, most recently in Senegal to help missionaries with work projects and building churches, playgrounds, lodging and other necessities….in his 4th year as a leader of a small group of football players as a part of ministry

ALEX ROMANIAS, Edinboro University (Pennsylvania) – Division II
Senior from Pittsburgh, PA….leads the Fighting Scots in scoring with 59 points from 9 of 10 FG’s and 32 of 34 PAT’s….scored 20 points in October from 2 of 3 FG’s and 14 of 16 PAT’s….ranks 3rd in school history with 143 career PAT’s and 4th in school history with 29 career FG’s…ranks 8th in career scoring with 230 points ….made all 3 FG attempts against West Liberty including a 40-yard FG at the end of the first half which matched his career long….scored 6 points in 30-20 win against Mercyhurst on October 15…. Read to Compete Program volunteer where football team reads to local elementary school students

CODY SANDLIN, University of Tennessee at Martin – FCS
Junior from Goodlettsville, TN….leads the team in scoring with 32 points from 11 of 13 FG’s and 39 of 41 PAT’s….scored 40 points in October from 6 of 8 FG’s and 22 of 24 PAT’s….two FG’s have been from 40-49 yards….scored 13 points in 61-23 win over Austin Peay on October 8….scored 6 points in 24-23 win over Eastern Illinois on October 22….OVC Specialist of the Week nominee for his performance against Murray State where he scored 12 points….averaging 56 yards on 48 kickoffs….participates in all team community service projects since freshman year including cleaning up Union City Park after an ice storm…Santa’s Village event and food drive volunteer for two years for the Martin Parks and Recreation

TOMMY WILCZYNSKI, Rowan University (New Jersey) – Division III
Senior from Pine Hill, NJ….2nd on the team in scoring with 38 points from 5 of 7 FG’s and 23 of 25 PAT’s….scored 30 points in October from 5 of 7 FG’s and 15 of 18 PAT’s including season best 41-yard FG….averaging 55 yards on 40 kickoffs… participated in the Campus Clean and Green in October….participated in the team’s annual Get in the Game Save a Life bone marrow registry…involved in the team’s adoption of a family via the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation

KYLE WILLIAMS, Hinds Community College (Mississippi) – NJCAA
Sophomore from Pearl, MS….leads the 10th ranked Eagles in scoring with 64 points from 9 of 15 FG’s and 37 of 41 PAT’s… scored 29 points in October from 4 of 6 FG’s and 17 of 17 PAT’s….scored 10 points in win over Jones County Junior College on October 6 by making both FG’s and all four PAT’s….scored 10 points in 59-32 win over Pearl River Community College on October 22 by making his FG and all seven PAT’s....made career-long 44-yard FG against Pearl River….Habitat for Humanity volunteer….Muscular Dystrophy Association of Mississippi volunteer

SEAN WILLIAMS, Wittenberg University (Ohio) – Division III
Junior from Plainfield, IN…leads the 22nd ranked Tigers with 66 points from 11 of 11 FG’s and 33 of 34 PAT’s….has made 18 straight FG’s over the course of two seasons to break the school record of 12….made 50 consecutive PAT’s over the past two seasons to break the school record of 48….78 of 80 PAT’s for his career and holds school record for the highest PAT % among kickers with at least 40 attempts….will tie the school record for most FG’s in a season that he set in 2010 when he makes his next FG….currently ranks 7th in school history with 66 points this season….made career-long 41-yard FG in 27-23 win over Carnegie on October 22….147 career kicking points is 5th in school history and just 19 points behind Fred Mitchell….averaging 53 yards in 53 kickoffs….youth football camp volunteer in hometown….volunteered at Habitat for Humanity Re-Store in Springfield….Springfield Regional Medical Center intern/volunteer