Coaches hope the almost-spotless performance by the Boise State football teams kickers in Saturdays scrimmage gives them a much-needed confidence boost.
Senior Michael Frisina was 6-for-6 on field goals and sophomore Dan Goodale was 6-for-7. They made all of their PATs.
The performance stands in stark contrast to last season, when they combined to go 6-for-9 on field goals and missed eight PATs. They struggled in the Spring Game, too.
They were never bad fundamentally, said first-year special teams coach Scott Huff, who has been on staff since 2006. They were good enough. Its just confidence, and their preparation has given them the confidence to go out and be successful. And its going to be tested. You miss one of those things and its, How confident really am I?
That was a problem last year, when Goodale performed well throughout the offseason only to stumble during the season. He missed the 39-yard field goal attempt on the final play against TCU, a potential game-winner, and gave way to Frisina.
Goodale was 3-for-5 on field goals for the season with a long of 32 yards; Frisina was 3-for-4 with a long of 30. Goodale was 50-for-56 on PATs and Frisina was 21-for-23.
Frisina appears the leader this fall, taking the first kicks throughout the scrimmage. Coaches plan to pick a starter rather than try to ride the hot foot.
Like the quarterback thing, were going to pick a guy and roll, coach Chris Petersen said, but its always going to be a competition.
That competition has been ongoing since January and coaches have been impressed with the approaches of Frisina and Goodale, who separated themselves from redshirt freshman Jake Van Ginkel.
Coaches have tried to clean up the kickers techniques but also have emphasized improved snaps and holds to make the kicks easier. New defensive graduate assistant Ben Thienes added because of the NCAA rule that allows for four graduate assistants instead of two this year also has worked closely with the kickers.
The kickers have not been available for interviews this fall.
The guys have worked as hard as, if not harder than, anybody on our whole team, Huff said. And its been more mental for them than it has been anything physical.
One way coaches have worked to increase the kickers confidence is by focusing on kicks of 40 yards or less. The Broncos didnt try a kick longer than 37 yards in the scrimmage and havent worked on anything beyond about 40 yards in camp.
Goodale, who has the stronger leg of the two, probably could hit from 50-plus.
You saw their legs are strong enough to make it past (40), but we just want to in that area say, Hey, let's just be solid there, Petersen said. When we get that under control, we can always move it back.
The kickers have tried some longer kicks on their own but even thats discouraged. Coaches want to prevent the kickers from overusing their legs.
We like to go for it on fourth down anyway, Huff said.
Petersen has said thats his plan if the kickers stumble again go for it all the time.
At the least, it looks like the Broncos will try more fourth-down plays when theyre between the opponent's 25- and 35-yard lines an area that traditionally is field-goal territory.
But they likely will need a reliable kicker this year, when the Broncos expect to play more tight games with new-look starting lineups.
Obviously we felt good about the scrimmage and how they kicked there, Huff said. Were hoping that thats the confidence that we need to move forward and do it in games.
Chadd Cripe: 377-6398, Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat
Editors note: This is the fourth in a series of stories previewing the Boise State football team by position. Coming Wednesday: offensive line.
PROJECTED DEPTH CHART: SPECIAL TEAMS
Kicker: Michael Frisina (5-5, 162, sr.) appears to hold the edge over Dan Goodale (5-10, 191, so.).
Punter: Trevor Harman (6-3, 216, jr.) brings a powerful leg to the job. The question: How consistent will he be? Goodale is the backup.
Kickoff specialist: Harman posted 17 touchbacks last season. That number should increase significantly from the 35-yard line. Goodale is the backup.
Long snapper: Chris Roberson (6-0, 228, sr.) is a fourth-year starter. Walk-on newcomers Jake Holsteen (6-4, 216, jr.) and Kevin Keane (6-0, 208, so.) provide depth.
Holder: Wide receiver Matt Miller (6-3, 215, so.) provides Austin Pettis-like flexibility for fakes. QB Joe Southwick (6-1, 187, jr.) is the backup.
Punt returner: Wide receiver Mitch Burroughs (5-9, 193, sr.) is the Mountain West preseason special teams player of the year. He has averaged at least 13 yards per return each of the past two seasons. Wide receiver Chris Potter (5-9, 159, sr.), who has been successful, too, likely will share time.
Kickoff returners: Coaches havent settled on a top pairing yet. Contenders include tailback D.J. Harper, Mitch Burroughs, wide receiver Dallas Burroughs, cornerback Bryan Douglas, cornerback Jerrell Gavins, cornerback Josh Borgman and true freshman wide receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes.
Core special teams players (on several units): Linebacker Blake Renaud, nickel Corey Bell, tight end Holden Huff, tailback Drew Wright, safety Jeremy Ioane, safety Hazen Moss, safety Dillon Lukehart and Miller.