Oklahoma State football: Quinn Sharp has put missed field goal vs. Iowa State in the past
Sharp has a group of supporters — other teams' kickers — who have been in similar situations
STILLWATER — Bring up last season's Iowa State game to Quinn Sharp, and a look of disappointment immediately crosses his face.
There's a difference, though, between being disappointed and dwelling.
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Of course, Sharp still wishes he would have made the 37-yard field goal attempt late in regulation that likely would have given Oklahoma State the victory over the Cyclones — and a spot in the national championship game. In fact, he still thinks the ball did sneak just inside the right upright. Plenty of Cowboy supporters think it did, too, including coach Mike Gundy's oldest son, Gavin, who often proclaims to Dad that the kick was good.
But Sharp, simply, has moved on.
“The kick comes back (when someone says “Iowa State”), just like everybody expects,” Sharp said. “But it's one of those things — I've looked at it, I've thought about it, but it's in the past.
“You can't let something like that linger on you, because it will affect you the rest of your way, and I don't want to hinder the team with something like that.”
The results certainly show Sharp has put that kick behind him. He made the game-winning field goal in overtime of the Fiesta Bowl to cap the best season in OSU history. And he's continued to be one of the Cowboys' top weapons in 2012, most recently picking up the Big 12's Special Teams Player of the Week award after he was arguably Oklahoma State's MVP against Kansas.
How exactly did Sharp get over a miss that could have kept haunting him?
In the hours and days that followed that game, he leaned on support of teammates, as well as his parents and friends back home in Mansfield, Texas. He's one of the players who on a regular basis sees Stillwater hypnotherapist Paige Wacker, who focuses on mental performance training and teaching athletes how to visualize success.
And he also received encouraging phone calls and messages from the community of college kickers and punters across the country, including Oklahoma's Tress Way, Georgia's Blair Walsh (now of the Minnesota Vikings), Purdue's Carson Wiggs (now an NFL free agent).
The general message was simple — “keep your head up.”
“That was nice for them to kind of reach out and just tell me that they were there,” Sharp said. “That I had been doing good the whole year, and it was just one of those kicks that didn't go my way that day.”
Sharp is aware that kickers and specialists are often viewed as a unique breed of football player. Gundy even half-jokes that he never talks to those players, because they think, prepare and practice differently.
But the job creates a bond between college kickers, usually starting when they begin attending the same camps as high schoolers. Sharp describes those workouts as a combination of jokes and fun, and intense competition. Then they check in with each other periodically throughout the season, especially during those low points while fulfilling a sometimes thankless and isolated role on the team.
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