Kansas Football 2013: The Obvious Importance of a Competent Kicker

Jamie Squire

Why Matthew Wyman can change some games for Kansas this year.

Last year, Kansas and Louisiana Tech would have gone to overtime.

Last year Kansas kickers did not make a field goal that was more than 37 yards. The Jayhawks had a problem where they were never a threat to make anything more than a short range field goal. This would change Charlie Weis' offensive decisions where it would force the Jayhawks to go for it on fourth down instead of getting three points.

Take, for example, last year's matchup with Texas. In the first quarter, the Jayhawks drove down to the Texas five yard line for a first and goal situation. However sacks, fumbles and typical 2012 Kansas football antics drove them all the way back to the Texas 29. As shown earlier in the season, a 46 yard field goal would've been too long for the current kickers on the squad, so Weis was forced to go for it. The pass was incomplete and Texas took over on downs.

Kansas ended up losing that game by four points. A field goal there would not have won the game on its own, but it can change the game plan for the next three quarters. Points are always good when you can get them and last year's kicking crew was not able to get Kansas points past 37 yards.

Screen_shot_2013-09-21_at_9

Above are the stats from last year. Both kickers were horrendous in terms of how far they could kick the ball. To not make a single field goal more than 37 yards is mind boggling and it certainly impacted the Kansas offense last year.

This year, however, is a bit different because of a kid who never played football before coming to Kansas. Matthew Wyman missed a 28 yard field goal early in the game against Louisiana Tech but was nails in his next two attempts. Those attempts were from 39 yards out and 52 yards out respectively, the second one to win the game. He's three for five on the season and the ones he missed were ones he absolutely shouldn't have, but the progress is there.

What this means now for Kansas is that they have more opportunities to get points once they drive into enemy territory. I firmly believe that Wyman will continue to grow in his accuracy as the season goes on, which would solve the problems he's had the first three weeks of the season.

No more fourth down and goal plays from the Texas 29 that result in a turnover on downs. From now on, Kansas has a field goal threat in Matthew Wyman. While a field goal is more often than not the settlement of a held drive, that field goal can impact the game in so many ways in the later quarters. Wyman still has some accuracy problems to work on, but the idea that Kansas has the option to settle for a 45 yard field goal is already an improvement over last year.

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