Finding placekickers

Submitted by crg on October 2nd, 2016 at 9:02 PM
This was briefly mentioned in a comment somewhere, but I would like to open this up for greater discussion. Why is it so difficult to find kickers that can hit moderate field goals? I am NOT suggesting that any kid can just walk on and hit 35 yarders reliably, but it seems as though any respectable college team can open up the competition to their soccer players (men and women) as well as others with reasonable leg strength (cyclists, wrestlers, martial arts, etc.). One would think that would lead to a few reasonable back up options to supplement (not replace) scholarship kickers. They would not even need to make a significant time commitment compared to other positions. Maybe I'm way off here, as I do not have much familiarity with kicker development, but it seems plausible. Additional insight is appreciated.

Also, this is not a call to bench Allen or Trice. They obviously earned their time in practice and probably just had some bad luck.

Comments

crg

October 2nd, 2016 at 9:19 PM ^

Follow up question: why not have every player on the team try out for a spot of "emergency kicker"? I recall a few years ago when the Lions had Suh kick a field goal (badly) because they had no other kickers available. Most military units have each person learn the jobs of a few other members of the team in case they need to take over, which is done for many positions in football also (linemen can move, WRs and CBs, and many others). Why not identify players that could plausibly take on some kicking responsibilities in a pinch? These are highly gifted and trained athletes - some should be able to do it decently.

sammylittle

October 2nd, 2016 at 9:24 PM ^

Our kicker was injured the day before our first game of the season. Tryouts resulted in our long snapper missing the game as well. He had a bruised tailbone from two particularly low kicks. We lost 15-12 after missing both extra points and two short field goals and having a punt snap sail over the punter's head for a safety.

I can't advise this course of action.

crg

October 2nd, 2016 at 9:30 PM ^

Interesting comment, but that sounds more like (an unfortunate) exception and not the rule. First, you would need to see which players could reliably... get it up (get your minds out of the gutter)... before putting them in a situation where they could nail a lineman (again, gutters).

sammylittle

October 3rd, 2016 at 7:26 AM ^

would not make this error. My high school coach in 1987 (I sound like Uncle Rico) panicked. He planned an easy Thursday (a few conditioning drills, offensive and defensive walkthroughs, and full speed special teams drills). When the kicker was injured with 30 minutes left in the last practice before the game, he tried to create a realistic game situation for practice. It failed miserably!

FGB

October 3rd, 2016 at 1:08 AM ^

Reporter to coach after random devastating loss:  "Coach, how could your WR run the wrong route/CBs give up a hail mary/RB miss the blocking protection, isn't that something you work on in practice?"

Dumbass coach: "No, we didn't have time for that this week, we were busy having every single person practice placekicking."

There's only so much time to practice EVERYTHING that is actually likely to arise in a football game.

crg

October 3rd, 2016 at 6:33 AM ^

Not necessary to do this during every practice - I was thinking more along the lines of having a team-wide kicking competition during fall camp. Best looking non-regular kicker to win that becomes the "emergency kicker" that takes over when the scholarship and walk-on kickers are not available for whatever reason. The anointed "emergency kicker" can then do some extra kicking practice during the season just to keep the rust off without impacting much else.

Formerly Yoda

October 2nd, 2016 at 9:04 PM ^

in general, it's not. there are what? over 100 college kickers? allen is being asked to do too much, he was great last year when that's all he needed to focus on.

1201 S. Main St.

October 3rd, 2016 at 10:51 AM ^

It is not like every Power 5 school has a stud kicker or even a good one for that matter.  I remember not too long ago Alabama had an issue with its kicker.  I think you are under estimating what it takes to be a kicker.  It is far more important to be accurate than to have great leg strength.  If it were just leg strength, by your metric, every RB on the roster should be a serviceable backup kicker.  I mean, look at the kicking stats just for this year, most of the kickers having great years aren't from a powerhouse program.

Jeff09

October 3rd, 2016 at 11:24 AM ^

Could you clarify what you mean by this? Lots of people have said it's too much to do all three kicking phases - why? You kickoff a small handful of times, you punt a small handful of times, and you kick field goals and EPs a small handful of times. What's so taxing about that? Why does adding 2-3 kicks per game suddenly become so onerous? How much focus does one need when you're only in the game 10% of the time?

Avon Barksdale

October 2nd, 2016 at 9:06 PM ^

Pretty simple: it's not like you can just have 12 walk on kickers and hope one of them works out. You don't get an infinite number of walk on slots. You usually want to have a scholarship K/P and then 2-3 walk on specialists.

And let's not pretend it was a position of need coming into the year. Kenny was solid a year ago which is why he got a fifth year.

RobM_24

October 2nd, 2016 at 9:12 PM ^

Be honest fellow MGoBlog brethren -- did you know who Ryan Tice was prior to yesterday? Despite spending like 1 or more hours a day on MGoBlog, I had no idea who he was.

cincymichman

October 2nd, 2016 at 10:17 PM ^

I thought he punted very well.  It seemed like all his punts were 50+ and they were all covered well.  A bad punt or a line drive punt could have given Wisconsin the edge they needed.  

We can blame him up and down for missing those 2 field goals.  The 1st one was really bad.  The 2nd one just hung up and caught the wind.  I felt horrible for him.  

jmblue

October 2nd, 2016 at 10:49 PM ^

I think a placekicking motion is something like your swing in baseball/golf - you have to get it automatic, so you're not thinking about it.  But when you also have to punt, then you're using a different motion, so when you go back to PK maybe it throws you off.  That's my guess anyway. 

1WhoStayed

October 2nd, 2016 at 9:49 PM ^

Harbauch mentioned him several times when the subject of kickers came up earlier. As I recall, he got his first name wrong because JH played (or coached) with Tice's uncle. So he got more air time than normal because JH scrwed his name up several times!

His kick had plenty of leg. Just pulled it a bit. We'll work on field goals in the next several games and someone will get their confidence level up where it needs to be.

PS - Since we're going to score touchdown 100% of the time in the red zone, JH will have someone false start 3-5 times so that the extra points are a suitable distance.