Monday, December 19, 2011

Football Season in Review: Placekicking

Close your eyes, Falcon fans.  This has, of late, been a painful one.  It has been some years since the Falcons have had a consistent placekicking game, and this year was certainly in the same trend.  However it might have seemed, however, the placekicking game was probably better than in 2010....though nowhere near where it should be.

Yes, BG did lose a chance at OT vs. Wyoming on a missed XP, just as a missed FG cost BG the Buffalo game the year before.  But, in bulk numbers, how did things stack up?

In 2010, BG's two kickers were a collective 5 of 13, with the low number of attempts reflecting a strong lack of confidence in the kicking game.  Inside 40, where MAC kickers make 80% of their attempts, BG was 5-8, still below average.  The long FG for the season was 34 yards.  Perhaps even sadder, BG was only 24-28 on XPs.


In 2011, Kyle Burkhardt started the year, but was replaced by Stephen Stein following the Wyoming mess.  Stein did better, hitting 8-11 and 8-10 inside 40, both numbers that were at least adequate.  BG still did not make a FG over 40 yards, but the long did move up to 39 for the year.  Collectively, the two kickers were 9-13 and 9-11 inside 40.

A stronger offense got the kickers more extra point attempts (41) of which 37 were made.  Even with the higher number of attempts, missing four extra points is not acceptable.  Six MAC teams missed 0 or 1, and some of them had more opportunities than BG.

And I guess that brings things to the ultimate point.  OU had a good kicker.  UT did.  WMU did. CMU did.  Why can't BG?  It is clearly possible, but placekicking woes have not been addressed here going back to Shaun Suisham's last year and it is very frustrating.  FGs make a big difference...they can extend a lead or win a game.  And missing an XP that would force overtime is just embarrassing.

BG did have Tyler Tate redshirt this year, and he's on scholarship, so there have been attempts to invest in placekicking.  At this point, the issue is less accuracy, and now we'd like to add some reasonable range and get those extra point misses down.

But, for 2011, you have to say that placekicking was improved over 2010.

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