Monday, July 14, 2014
Special teams review: Kicker
By Ted Miller
We've reviewed and rated the returning position players in the Pac-12. Up next are the specialists, starting with kickers.
The conference is strong at kicker, with eight returning starters, including a couple in line for All-American consideration.
Zane Gonzalez, Arizona State: A freshman All-American, he was first-team All-Pac-12 last season, making 25 of 30 attempts (83.3 percent). Only negative is his longest field goal was just 44 yards, and he doesn't kick off.
Colorado's Will Oliver is one of the Pac-12's top all-around kickers.
Andy Phillips, Utah: A former elite skier, he made his first 11 career field goals and ended up 17-of-20 for the season. Has great leg, as he made 9 of 11 from 40 yards are longer, with a long of 51. Didn't miss a PAT either. One weakness: Not very good on kickoffs.
Will Oliver, Colorado: Made 17 of 24 field goals with a long of 53. Like Phillips, he was perfect on PATs and was good on kickoffs.
Jordan Williamson, Stanford: Connected on 18 of 22 kicks with a long of 48. Of his four misses, two of them came from 50 yards or longer. At 54.35 percent, he had the highest touchback percentage on kickoffs in the conference.
Ka'imi Fairbairn, UCLA: Faibairn made 14 of 20 field goals with a long of 48. Missed just 1 of 60 PATs and ranked second in the conference in touchback percentage on kickoffs (50 percent).
Trevor Romaine, Oregon State: A four-year starter, Romaine was good, but not great last year, converting 14 of 20 field goals with a long of 50 yards. Converted just 3 of 7 kicks behind 40 yards.
Andre Heidari, USC: Made 15 of 22 field goals with a long of 52 yards, but was just 3-of-8 between 40 and 49 yards. Struggled on kickoffs, too. Of course, he nearly jumps a spot or two this year because he made that pressure-packed 47-yard game winner to knock Stanford out of the national title hunt.
Matt Wogan, Oregon: For most Ducks fans, being just average at kicker is an improvement, as Oregon doesn't try many field goals and the results the past few seasons with big ones have been pretty, er, horrible. But Wogan was a respectable 7-of-9 last season, though his longest was only 39 yards.
Washington State: Mainstay Andrew Furney is gone, but Erik Powell looked good during the spring.