Down to one Kick — Who Takes It?

Alejandro Maldanado 5, Tennessee,13,CS

Craig Strobeck

The Oregon Ducks are rich in talent on both sides of the ball, having most of the pieces set for a National Championship run.  The one thing holding them back?  Their kicking game.

The last two seasons Oregon has been snake bitten by missed field goals, which could have propelled them to a National Championship appearance — or even two. In 2011, they missed a 37-yard field goal against USC that would have evened the score as time expired; last season, in 2012 against Stanford, they missed a potential game winning 42-yard field goal near the end of the game and then a second kick in OT from 41 yards out.

For Oregon fans, this has become gut wrenching, as they have watched their National Title hopes vanish with just one kick back-to-back years. Are they channeling Florida State’s infamous ‘Wide Right’ heartbreaks?

This season,  they are 4-for-6 with a long of 38 yards — one miss coming from 37 yards out.  Certainly that must improve going forward.

With such a small sample size of kicking results and and a potent offense, conventional wisdom would make you think the Ducks should just go for it on 4th downs, when it may be too close to punt.  However, the Ducks have not been dominant on 4th-down conversions this season, converting only 8-of-20 attempts (40%).  This is a 24.5% decrease from last year — and thus, the conundrum.

So if you are Mark Helfrich and in a situation where a field goal could send you to the National Championship game, what do you do?  Go with the senior Alejandro Maldonado, who has admittedly struggled the past two seasons?  Do you hand the job to inexperienced freshman Matt Wogan, who has only attempted one field goal this season?  Do you leave your offense out there — which is converting 4th downs at fewer than one out of four tries — possibly passing up three much-needed points ?

Coach Helfrich will no doubt have considered this scenario.  Lets hope the kicking game can respond in crunch time.

Print Friendly

 Volunteer Position Openings:

  • Basketball Writer: Do you know the game and love to think about the upcoming season for our beloved Ducks?  Write about them!  It's fun doing homework on a winner!
  • Assistant Football Analyst: Love college football and enjoy watching it for hours? We need associates to view games and find the techniques/teaching points we identify for them in advance.  You will be recognized in publications, and could have the opportunity to move to full Analyst.
  • College Football Analyst: We are looking for Coaches, or retired coaches to help create analysis videos (we do the video part) that will be viewed by thousands, and will help young football players as well as fans understand the game much better. The national recognition will help your resume' as well as make an impact upon the game we all dearly love.
  • Video Specialist: We are looking for help in the Eugene/Springfield area to assist with the shooting and editing of analysis videos.
  • All Positions: Send a resume' with full contact information and any writing samples you have to  Again, these are volunteer positions donating five hours a week each.

Luc Hancock

Luc Hancock

Luc Hancock is a senior at the University of Oregon majoring in Public Relations. He is from San Francisco, California and loves all sports, with his favorites being baseball and basketball. Luc is a die hard bay area sports fan and has been spoiled with the recent success of his teams in the past year. He did not become a Ducks fan until he came to the university 3 years ago, but now accepts them along with his other favorite teams. When Luc is not writing, thinking, or playing sports, he enjoys watching Seinfeld reruns and hanging out with friends. Luc is open to feed back. Follow him on twitter @luchancock

  • OregonDuckingIt

    “For Oregon fans, this has become gut wrenching”

    Couldn’t be better stated. Don’t even want to contemplate that scenario. And truly, what do you do? Unproven, but strong-legged freshman or the Sr. who for whatever reasons, just can’t come through. Ideally, I’d love for Maldonado to have ‘his moment.’ That would be awesome for the kid. But my gosh, can we please not let it come down to that!