Placekicker overcomes tough start to 2013 season
When Rutgers football alumnus placekicker Jeremy Ito drilled a 28-yard game-winning field goal in 2006 in Rutgers’ upset of then-No. 3 Louisville, the whole stadium erupted and swarmed the field to celebrate the kick and the Scarlet Knights’ victory.
Other fanatics of the Knights were scratching their heads after junior placekicker Kyle Federico missed a seemingly commonplace 36-yard field goal against Howard last Saturday after booting two kickoffs out of bounds.
It was a game of mixed emotions for head coach Kyle Flood when thinking about his kicker. But the positives shown by Federico in recent history leave Flood without any doubts.
“It was kind of a feast or famine day for Kyle,” Flood said postgame against Howard. “He hit some kickoffs really well, and he hit two of them out of bounds. He hit some field goals and extra points really well, then he missed the other field goal attempt he had. Any long-term concerns though? No, I think he has done enough where in my mind where I have confidence in him.”
There is no position in football that is quite as misunderstood as the specialist positions in football.
After all, a typical kicker’s practice is isolated so that they can work on their own individual skills while the rest of the players prepare for what they need to face at their own individual position.
For Federico, it’s just a matter of remembering his technique and getting his mind right when he approaches each kick.
“I have to really understand that every kick is different,” Federico said after the win against Howard. “I missed a kick today, but I can’t worry about it, I have to move onto the next one. I really think that streak was a great streak for me and I have to keep it going on to the next one.”
Although he booted two kickoffs out of bounds and split a pair of field goals, Federico has still converted 11 of his last 14 field goals dating back to last season.
The streak of success at kicking field goals and kickoffs since the latter half of last season has given Federico confidence after a rough start to the 2013 season, he said.
“I think that after last year’s little downfall in the beginning of the season, then I started to pick it back up,” Federico said. “I really started to feel comfortable.”
Senior fullback Michael Burton has seen his share of highs and lows from several different special teams’ players going into his fifth year at Rutgers.
The co-captain said he believes in Federico, especially from what he has seen in practice.
“I’m very confident in Kyle Federico, he’s been very consistent. He had a great kick today in practice and that was awesome to see go through,” Burton said. “I’m very confident if his name gets called to kick a field goal.”
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