He doesn’t need to high-five himself anymore.
Students on Boise State’s campus make sure senior kicker Tyler Rausa gets enough love as he goes to class. Same goes for people around town.
“I got one in Walmart, had two older gentlemen come up to me and give me high-fives,” he said.
Boise State fans love Rausa.
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It’s partially because no player should have to celebrate with himself, like he did in that viral video after he made a kick last season. He’s outgoing, showing a sense of humor about himself in person and on Twitter.
He’s also one of the best in the nation at his position, making a school-record 25 field goals last season. He shattered the Mountain West kicker scoring record with 134 points (previous record was 122) and 59 percent of his kickoffs were touchbacks (17th nationally).
But Rausa knows kickers aren’t always loved, always one key miss away from scorn. There’s a reason Adam Sandler wrote “The Lonesome Kicker” almost 20 years ago (sample lyric: “Another blocked kick/And everybody blames me/But it was the left guard/Who didn't pick up his man/Oh, why can’t they see?”).
“I definitely can feel the positivity. The fans here are great,” Rausa said. “I’m going to do everything I can to keep doing what I’ve been doing, not see the other side of it.”
Rausa is doubling down on the good vibes, saying “fans are seeing kickers as people, too, and more than meets the eye.” He showed off his swing at the Broncos’ summer charity softball game, reaching the finals of the home run derby before falling to former minor leaguer and current middle linebacker Joe Martarano.
A few days later, Rausa simply tweeted “breaking stereotypes.”
“There’s that opinion kickers aren’t athletes, so it’s kind of fun to me to be part of showing people it’s totally untrue,” Rausa said. “My parents put us in a bunch of sports growing up. It kind of brings a little confidence, knowing it’s not the only thing you’re about.”
The preseason All-Mountain West kicker and a Lou Groza Award candidate, Rausa shrugs off the preseason attention. He jokes that “watchlists don’t really mean anything. I could watch someone babysit.” But he still fits the mold Boise State wants at the position.
“He’s strong, a guy that can squat 600 pounds,” special teams coordinator Kent Riddle said. “Most of the best ones I’ve been around have been more like him than what most people imagine a kicker is.”
Rausa said he lost some leg power late last season, with three of his five field goal misses coming in the last month. He also said his kickoffs weren’t as strong. Riddle said his strength and conditioning are better, adding “what you do now will affect where you are at the end of the year.”
Last season, Rausa hit 1-of-4 field goals from more than 50 yards. He tried kicks from 54 and 55, both had the distance, but one hit the upright and another was wide. He’d love to get another shot, perhaps even for the 56-yard school record, or who knows, show off the athleticism on a fake.
This is BSU after all.
“Those opportunities would be awesome,” Rausa said. “I know the coaches have trust in me, and that makes me more confident, so any time I can back that up, I’ll take it.”
Dave Southorn: 377-6420