Monday, July 22, 2013
Preseason position reviews: kicker
By Ted Miller
Kickers are important. Just ask Oregon.
It's also hard to measure kickers. They can be good one year but fall off the next. They can put up good numbers but miss when the pressure is on. And new kickers are impossible to gauge, even if they arrive with an impressive recruiting ranking.
So how do things stack up heading into 2013? Let's take a look.
Oregon State: Trevor Romaine was 16 of 18 -- best percentage in the conference -- with a long of 45 yards. On the downside, he missed three of his 54 PATs.
Ka'imi Fairbairn's clutch field goal lifted UCLA over Arizona State.
Washington State: Andrew Furney was second-team All-Pac-12 and kicked a 60-yard field goal against Eastern Washington, the longest in the nation last year. Doesn't kick off.
UCLA: Ka'imi Fairbairn turned in a strong freshman season, making 16 of 22 field goals with a long of 48 yards. Had a 33-yard game winner at the final bell against Arizona State. Missed three PATs and doesn't kick off.
California: Vince D'Amato was first-team All-Pac-12 in 2012, though it seemed like an odd pick at the time considering he only hit 16 of 23 field goals and missed three extra points. Still, his 52 yarder against Washington State was the second longest in the conference last year.
USC: Andre Heidari made 10 of 16 field goals with a long of 41 yards and 39 of 41 PATs. More talented than his numbers -- he battled knee issues in 2012 after earning first-team All-Pac-12 honors in 2011.
Stanford: Jordan Williamson overcame his late-season yips from 2011 to kick a clutch game-winner at Oregon. Overall, he was 17 of 27 on field goals with a long of 48 and he missed just one of 46 PATs. Best returning guy on kickoffs, too.
Colorado: Will Oliver is a good kicker but he only got eight attempts -- making six -- with a long of 37 yards. Didn't miss a PAT.
Washington: Travis Coons, who also punted for the Huskies, had a bad miss in the Apple Cup, but he had a decent 2012 season, making 9 of 14 field goals with a long of 45 yards and hitting all 39 of his PATs. Not very good on kickoffs, and he could be challenged by incoming freshmen.
Oregon: Alejandro Maldonado is back, but his star-crossed career might be over with the arrival of touted freshman Matt Wogan.
Arizona: The Wildcats are replacing the solid John Bonano. Syracuse transfer Jake Smith and Casey Skowron will compete in preseason camp for the job.
Arizona State: Alex Garoutte struggled last season, making just 6 of 11 kicks with a long of 43 yards. He did make 59 of 60 extra points. He lost his job to Jon Mora, who was 9 of 12 but with limited range. They are competing for the job, along with incoming freshman Zane Gonzalez.
Utah: Coleman Petersen is gone -- he was just 8 of 13 last year -- and the competition is pretty wide open after Jamie Sutcliffe and Andy Phillips didn't light things on fire during the spring. There are six kickers on the roster.