Alex Zendejas has been one of the more notorious Wildcats the last few seasons, and it was for all of the wrong reasons. After years of missed kicks in crucial situations, the senior-to-be has lost his starting job to Jaime Salazar, a junior college transfer.
No official starter has been announced for the regular season, but as Anthony Gimino tells us, it is Salazar who has pulled ahead on the depth chart in recent weeks.
"We're still competing, but Jaime moved kind of ahead of Alex right now," coach Mike Stoops said after Tuesday's practice. "We'll continue to compete as we go through."
Wildcats fans are well aware of Zendejas' struggles. Whether it was going 1-for-3 in the second half of a crucial home game against Oregon in 2009, his meltdown against USC and Arizona State last season, or his two missed kicks in the Alamo Bowl in last December, his performance on the field has been pretty terrible.
So, the coaches brought in Salazar from Trinity Valley Community College in Texas. He hasn't looked like the second coming of Steve McLaughlin - Salazar has been inconsistent in fall scrimmages, too - but it looks as if he'll get a chance to swing his right leg in the season opener against NAU on Sept. 3.
Honestly, what does it hurt to try someone new at the kicking position? Worst case scenario is Salazar struggles in the first game or two and is then replaced by Zendejas. The upside to trying a new kicker is huge.
"I think you have to have a reliable kicker," Stoops said.
That's deep, coach. Bold and deep.
All eyes will be on Jaime Salazar and the Wildcats when they take on the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks on September 3rd. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
For more UA coverage, check out AZ Desert Swarm.