Winning kicks rare for OU anymore

DAVID UBBEN Modified: August 24, 2009 at 8:53 am •  Published: August 23, 2009
In
2008, Stevens missed five of his 99 attempts.

"I started missing some short kicks I definitely should have made, and that affected my confidence,” he said.

His confidence hadn’t been that low since a frustrating senior season at Heritage Hall when he set the national record for most field goals in a career. Before he set the record, however, he had missed eight of 10 attempts. He also missed a 31-yarder to win in the final seconds of the same game in which he set the record.

Many of the misses Stevens racked up in high school were from beyond 50 yards, thanks to the rule in high school that states any missed field goal that lands in the end zone is a touchback, rather than giving the defense the ball from the spot of the missed kick, the rule in college and the NFL.

Stevens says some of those misses may have carried over to his college career, and last season, he sought the help of former Sooner Garrett Hartley, now with the New Orleans Saints.

"He said, ‘You’re going to miss occasionally,’ ” Stevens said. "The coaches have you here for a reason, so don’t be too hard on yourself.”

Since last year, he’s put on around six pounds, and says he’s made significant improvements on his mechanics. In the Sooners’ two open practices this fall, Stevens made all eight of his kicks in front of fans, including a 53-yarder. He also made a 52-yard field goal in a team scrimmage last week.

"He’s showing us that we can believe in him,” said senior offensive tackle Trent Williams. "That we don’t have to score a touchdown every play, we’ve got a solid kicker.”

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