Perhaps one of the biggest differences between college sports and the professional league is the quality of the kickers. The accuracy, distance that kicks can be made from; everything is vastly superior once a player makes it to the NFL. If you miss 30-40 yard field goals on a consistent basis, you are going to get cut.
In college football, we see that on a weekly basis as it changes the outcomes of games all the time. Having a top notch kicker is one of the most important pieces for a college football team and the Arizona State Sun Devils are trying to figure out who to go with.
Sophomore Alex Garoutte was the primary kicker for the Devils last season and this season, he was expected to improve on his 15-22 season. Instead, inconsistency has plagued the young man as he works to figure out what is going wrong with his wavering leg.
While he does that, it appears Jon Mora may get the start in place of Garoutte as the Devils take on the Colorado Buffaloes on Thursday night. Coach Todd Graham does not like what he has seen out of Garoutte in 2012, citing his 6/10 start while going just 2/5 from 30-39 yards out as a major issue.
To me, benching him does not seem like the best of ideas.
Both players are sophomores, so youth really does not factor in to the equation. What does count is that Garoutte does have the leg strength and accuracy, but it is the mental side that he needs to overcome.
It's obvious that he struggles to perform under pressure. He consistently misses field goals in the final minutes of games, costing his team close wins that they may have otherwise had with a made field goal. But this is new head coach Todd Graham's specialty: motivating his players. While he is known for his disciplinary skills, he also knows how to lift up his players in the darkest of times.
And maybe that is why he is getting word out that Mora, a one time walk-on, may be the team's new kicker. Maybe it is a tactic to help kick Garoutte in the rear. If that is the case, then I am completely in favor of it. Letting a kicker play throughout his college tenure can pay huge dividends. Just look at what happened when Thomas Weber was able to do that a few years ago for ASU. He became a very reliable piece for this football program.
So, Coach Graham, I beg of you, let the young kicker kick. Help him get over whatever mental block he may have and allow him to show why he was