Goessling’s confidence not shaken

Fans bite their nails, the rowdy atmosphere quiets down and freshman kicker Kevin Goessling is sent in as the game comes down to a field goal attempt.

The kick is up and it is like Bulldog Stadium is frozen in time, and then in the blink of an eye, fans hold their breath and their hearts sink to the bottom of their stomachs.

The referee waves his arms, ‘no good.’

“It’s one of the lowest feelings you could have,” Goessling said. “You are the hero one second and a villain the next.”

Goessling has fit the role of villain more often than not this season.

He has made only 60 percent of his kicks, 9-for-15, and he has missed at the worst possible times. Some fans might even say he has single-handedly shattered the hopes of a Bowl Championship Series (BCS) season.

Goessling has missed from 47, 51, 58, 36 and two attempts from 35 yards.

Those misses do not include a missed extra point attempt or the miss in overtime against Hawaii that was nullified due to a penalty, giving him a second shot to redeem himself from five yards closer.

“It’s not the pressure that gets to me,” Goessling said. “I just didn’t kick well against Wisconsin and Hawaii. Everyone has bad games.”

Five of his six misses have come at home in the Bulldog’s two losses. Goessling is perfect in Bulldog wins with the exception of a 58-yard attempt at Toledo.

No matter if his misses in crucial game situations are coincidental or not, Goessling has been much better when the game is not on the line.

Quarterback Tom Brandstater still has confidence in his kicker though.

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Joseph Edgecomb / The Collegian

“He makes a lot in practice,” Brandstater said. “Kevin’s struggled so far, but I have no doubt he’ll start helping us win games soon.”

However, doubt is the word that some fans associate Goessling most with.

“He gives me a heart attack every time he kicks,” sophomore student Chris Lamadrid said. “I don’t feel bad for him either. All he does is kick in practice.”

Another student, Chris Ramos said, “We’d still be ranked if he didn’t blow both our losses. I think I could kick better than him.”

There’s been a lot of that talk echoing around campus, but does anyone really think they can kick better? Goessling didn’t receive a full-ride scholarship for nothing.

But, his only job is to kick. He should be more consistent.

In Goessling’s defense he is only a freshman and many freshman kickers in the nation have an adapting period. He has been thrown into the battle from the get-go.

Coach Pat Hill is sure Goessling is the kicker of the future.

“I’m not worried about Goessling,” Hill said. “I think he’s gonna be just fine.” Goessling has shown glimpses of promise. In warm-ups at Rutgers he nailed a 67-yard kick, and against Toledo he displayed great composure throughout the double overtime thriller.”

“Each game I have the same mindset,” Goessling said. “I just go out there trying to be 1-0 with each kick.”

Student Mike Hamlin doesn’t know why people have been so hard on Goessling.

“I don’t believe he is the only player on the football team,” Hamlin said. “You win and lose as a team.”
Goessling carries himself with a positive attitude and hasn’t let the rough start get to him. With the first half of the year he’s had, some kicker’s confidence would have hit rock bottom.

“My confidence hasn’t really shaken,” Goessling said. “If I don’t have confidence in myself, then no one will.”

It comes with the territory in sports. Some people will give up on you, and others will have your back until the end. It is the support that Goessling has received from friends, family and teammates that he is most grateful for.

“Everyone close to me has been very supportive,” Goessling said. “They understand and know I’ll rebound from this tough start.”

Goessling also had a comment to fans that are upset with him.

“Hopefully three years from now, you’re still not upset with me,” Goessling said.

Learning curve

Kicker Kevin Goessling has missed field goals in three games this season, including both of Fresno State’s losses.

• Wisconsin – Misses from 47, 51 and 35 yards

• At Toledo – 58-yard miss

• Hawaii – Misses from 36 and 35 yards

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