Thursday, September 20, 2012
USC kicker Alex Wood still ready to go
By Pedro Moura
LOS ANGELES -- Alex Wood, USC's walk-on replacement kicker, likes to say he's in his range whenever he's on the football field.
And he might be right: He missed only two field goals in his senior season of high school in Washington, including a 51-yarder.
On fourth-and-2 from the Stanford 13-yard line Saturday, facing a 30-yard field goal, Trojans coach Lane Kiffin brought Wood onto the field, but used him as a decoy for a Matt Barkley pass to Soma Vainuku that went incomplete in the end zone.
That was the closest Wood has come to kicking a field goal in two games as USC's primary place-kicker. The week before, against Syracuse, Kiffin again opted to go for it when presented with a similar opportunity to try for three points.
Wood, a freshman who came to USC last month as a preferred walk-on, is 8-for-8 on point-after attempts since stepping in for the injured Andre Heidari after the season opener.
In practice this week, Wood said, the Trojans were backing up all the way to the 40-yard line, and he knocked in a 50-yarder in live drills.
"So I feel comfortable whenever I'm in the game," he says. "If I'm on the field, then it's in my range."
Now it just has to be in what Kiffin believes is his range. The coach said the decision to go for it on fourth down against Stanford was influenced by the left-hash placement of the ball, indicating that Wood isn't as good coming from that side as he is straight down the middle.