Milestone Monday: The Kickers

2012 wasn't exactly a banner year for ASU kickers. - Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE

Arizona State's kicking struggles are well documented, but is there light at the end of the tunnel this season?

Milestone Monday

The Kickers

The Goal: Five made field goals of 40+ yards

Ben Haber: Made field goals and ASU don't really go together, especially over the last couple of seasons. The two early candidates for the starting kicker spot, Jon Mora and Alex Garoutte, are both flawed and will not be able to connect on five plus 40-yard attempts. Mora showed some signs of hope at the end of last season, hitting his last four tries. On the contrary, the inconsistency of Mora makes ASU fans sick. In addition, Mora lacks the ability to make long distance field goals, which could be costly in late game situations. Meanwhile, Garoutte can kick the ball as far as anyone. I like to call him Gaboot, as he has a strong leg but lacks the necessary accuracy. The biggest issue surrounding Gaboot -- he can't even kick the ball high enough over the defensive line, creating easy opportunities to block kicks.

The dark horse possibility, newcomer Zane Gonzalez, could be the answer, yet he's an unknown commodity. I still haven't seen Gonzalez kick in person, so it's tough to judge based on highlights. However, the coaching staff did sound optimistic about Gonzalez, and consistently place emphasis on the importance of field goals. By the end of camp, I think Mora gets the gig to open up the season. Regardless of the kicker, expecting ASU to convert on any field goals is tough to imagine, let alone impressive 40 plus yard attempts.

Mitch Terrell: Based on what the past seasons and kickers have shown, I'd be surprised if the staff even allows the kickers to attempt five 40+ yard field goals. With the way the offense played last season and has the potential to be run this year, I feel going for it on 4th down from that range - or punting - is more likely to occur. The ASU offense has the potential to go for it on any downs within the 25-30 yard line, and if Graham and the staff aren't comfortable with that, then that's when they may give Mora or Garoutte a chance.

I feel there will be some attempts from the 40+ yard range, but it will not lead to five being made. I'll be surprised if three are made based on their history.

Kerry Crowley: As much as it pains me to say, I don't believe the coaching staff has the confidence in the field goal kickers to give them enough opportunities to square up five 40+ yard field goals. I agree with Mitch because I really believe this offense can pick up two to three yards in short yardage situations by running the football. The running backs want the ball, the offensive line get a rush of adrenaline, and the fans go crazy when fourth downs are converted.

We've touched on Arizona State's kicking woes, but I am satisfied with the recruitment of Zane Gonzalez. He was a late addition to the class, and I think it sent a message to both Jon Mora and Alex Garoutte that the competition will continue throughout the season. However, it's nearly impossible to find a freshman kicker who suddenly becomes automatic from long range so even if Gonzalez gets the job, I don't imagine this milestone being reached.

Ryan Bafaloukos: I agree with the gentlemen above. I am not optimistic about the Arizona State kicking game. I do not think that any of these kickers will make five field goals of 40+ yards. I think Mitch brings up a good point that Graham may eventually just not allow the kickers to even try. If it is fourth and under five yards around the 30 yard-line, I do not think Graham will have enough faith in his kickers to allow them to try field goals.

Kicking is very much mental and I do not think that either of these guys are mentally strong enough to kick at the division one level. After the first miss, they will start to doubt themselves and it may all go downhill afterwards. I hope that I am wrong and these kickers will prove us wrong but I just do not see it.

Previous Milestone Mondays

Jaxon Hood






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