The Aggies’ kicking game so far this year has been at best, inconsistent, and at worst, abysmal. As many fans know, we missed three consecutive extra points against SMU two weeks ago and Coach Sumlin changed kickers during the game. While I will not find fault in the young men who are currently performing the kicking duties for the team, I believe a little history lesson may be in order.
Years ago, more than 35, Texas A&M had a barefoot kicker who, without a shoe, made a 65 yard field goal against the Baylor Bears for a short-lived NCAA record. Later that day, another collegian made a 69 yard field goal. Not to be outdone, the kicker, Tony Franklin, made another 60+ yarder for a record that held. (Two 60+ field goals in the same game.) He was voted an All-American. Almost 20 years later, in the mid-90’s, Kyle Bryant, a local graduate from College Station High School, took on the kicking role. He still holds a record for longest field goal by a freshman. Two years ago, Randy Bullock, also an All-American, won the Lou Groza Award. All of this leads to the disappointment for the fans, due to the expectation one has for the team’s kicker.
The kicking game does have its high points. The Aggies punter, Drew Kaser, leads the nation in punting average, including a 76 yarder against Rice in the opener. Interesting side note is that with only 15 recorded punts, A&M has the least number of attempts in the conference. Kaiser has helped the Aggies turn the field with his punting, which has been a huge help on those rare occasions our offense is unable to make a first down. However, Kaser was unable to get the extra point snap down for the third of the three missed PATs in the SMU game.
The two place kickers, Taylor Bertolet and Josh Lambo, are currently sharing the kicking duties, with Bertolet kicking off and Lambo in for PATs. They are a combined 4 for 5 in field goals. This week in Oxford, with a week off to have a mid-season tryout, the kicker controversy may continue or it may have been solved. With an offense as potent as A&M, a kicking game has not been the deciding factor in the wins or one loss so far this season, but that day may be coming. I, for one, believe that the competition for the job will give us a kicker that will be ready when we need him.