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OU looking for consistency from kickers

Most of Oklahoma's special-teams units — the punt team, return teams and cover teams — have been solid. But inconsistent field-goal kicking last season likely cost the Sooners several wins.
By Jake Trotter, Staff Writer, Modified: August 10, 2010 at 9:30 am •  Published: August 9, 2010

/articleid/3483830/1/pictures/1083643">Photo - Patrick O'Hara, right, is the favorite to be OU's starting kicker in 2010. PHOTO BY BRYAN TERRY, THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVE
Patrick O'Hara, right, is the favorite to be OU's starting kicker in 2010. PHOTO BY BRYAN TERRY, THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVE

Still, he feels confident with a year of experience behind him.

"The more reps you take, the more consistent and accurate you get," O'Hara said. "It's a mental thing. Kicking a year-and-a-half now, I feel much better about my kicking. I know what it's like to be in game situations. I'll be a lot more comfortable now."

If O'Hara stumbles, Stevens could be given another shot to be the place-kicker. Stevens was 11 of 11 on field goals from inside 40 yards last season. But his inability to be consistent from farther out cost him his job. Over the summer, Stevens worked on increasing his power and improving his distance, and is not ready to concede the job.

Neither are Easley or Hunnicutt.

Easley, a Norman North graduate who was sick last preseason before falling out of the competition, is healthy, talented and back in the mix.

Hunnicutt is a first-year walk-on out of Richardson, Texas, who, other than Way, might have the biggest leg on the team.

"I don't know who it's gonna be, but it's very important someone steps up," Way said. "Most important, for the guys on the team. They want to have that guy. Our offense is going to be extremely good, but they want to have that guy in case they have a couple mishaps in the red zone. They want to know someone is going to come in and tack up some extra points. Last year, myself included, we felt bad we couldn't give it to the team.

"The kickers, we need to be there to back them up."

Costly kicks

BYU: It was a desperation shot, but Tress Way had the chance to beat BYU from 54 yards out. Instead, his kick came up several yards short, and the Cougars held on for the 14-13 upset.

Texas: Jimmy Stevens' 45-yard miss came back to the bite the Sooners, as Texas won by a field goal in this defensive struggle, 16-13.

Nebraska: OU's offense sputtered against what turned out to be the best defense in college football. Still, OU had four chances to come up with points on FGs. Way misfired on two and had another blocked, and the Huskers prevailed, 10-3.


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