NORMAN — When Michael Hunnicutt's second missed field goal of the game clanged off the right upright, Colleen Stevens, left her seat and headed for the parking lot.
That's the life of a kicker's mother. Of family members.
Consistently drill the ball though those tall, skinny posts and you might receive some credit. But miss one field goal, much less in a loss, and you're guaranteed to create a buzz.
“I was absolutely sick for Hunnicutt,” Colleen Stevens said. “I knew exactly what everyone was going to do. They were just going to beat him up. I couldn't even watch the rest of the game, I felt so bad for him.”
The kicker always is hot-button topic in SoonerLand.
Stevens' son, Jimmy, was on the hot seat before he was sidelined by a strained right quadriceps muscle early in the season.
A senior from Heritage Hall, Stevens returned to practice on Monday, testing his right leg. It's still uncertain when he will be completely healed.
Coach Bob Stoops said at his weekly Tuesday media luncheon Stevens isn't healthy and he has confidence in Hunnicutt.
“Regardless (of Stevens' health) I'd still go with Michael right now because he's done so well,” Stoops said.
Will Stevens ever kick for the Sooners again?
Injured players aren't allowed to talk with the media, so Stevens hasn't talked with reporters in nearly two months.
Stevens has watched on the sidelines in street clothes. He didn't make the road trip to Kansas. Freshman Eric Hosek, still eligible to be redshirted, served as OU's emergency backup the past few games.
It's been frustrating for Stevens. A kicker hampered by a leg injury isn't all that different than a wide receiver playing on bad wheels.
“He wants to be out there kicking,” Colleen Stevens said. “With him pulling that top muscle you have to let it heal. It's the leg you have to get lift, to get the ball in the air.