The Mustache Man: Is Oregon Settled at Placekicker?

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck Editorials

I know that for many Oregon fans, this is a slam-dunk decision and we don’t need to waste time thinking about it any further. Should we just anoint the “Mustache-Man,” Henry Katleman, the starting kicker and be done with it? That was my gut reaction and that of analysts on other sites, but I got to pondering about the big picture and examples from the past. Is it wise to count Cam Lewis out?

I can almost hear all the forehead slaps out there….

First the facts. Cam Lewis has not been reliable in his time at Oregon, and some big misses this last season really cemented that conclusion. I am still sore at him for choking a chip-shot field goal at Auburn that ultimately made an impact on that loss. In 2020 he went 1-4 in field goals and missed anything over 30 yards; to me the talent is there, but the difference is what is in his head.

Pac-12 Video

Henry Katleman lining up for a 52 yarder … and making it!

Meanwhile Henry Katleman went 4-4 in 2020, with two of those field goals over 40 yards; in the Spring Game he made (barely) a 52 yarder in ideal conditions. The mischievous look on his face in the top photo almost suggests that he relishes the challenge and has a unique mind-set. Of his two kickoffs I could confirm on Saturday, one went out of the end zone, and the other went two yards deep into the end zone. We know that Lewis gets a ton of touchbacks…

Before I count a player out–I think back 17 years ago when Oregon State lost at LSU 22-21 because their freshman kicker missed three PATs. I recall thinking that not only should he lose his scholarship … he should not even travel home with the team. Let him clear out his locker later and not infect the team with his lack of concentration!

But the Beaver head coach was smarter than I and gave future Lou Groza Award winner Alexis Serna a chance at redemption. Oregon State was rewarded for that faith as this young kicker defeated his demons and went on to win games in Corvallis.

Kevin Cline

Camden Lewis kicks the winner vs. WSU 2019.

The Ducks had not beaten Mike Leach and Washington State in a boatload of years, and at crunch time when Oregon really needed a game-winning kick, Lewis came through. Losing that game would have changed everything in 2019, and a Rose Bowl win may not have happened but for Lewis. Isn’t he deserving of a chance at redemption?

I am torn at this as I still have feelings about the loss a decade ago in 2011 to USC that deleted us from the national picture. The Trojans were killing it on offense that day, but the Ducks got lined up for a game winning field goal….just 37 yards in front of the goal posts with no wind.. and you know what happened.

Offering redemption versus not taking chances on a shaky kicker–it is hard to decide. I am curious as to your thoughts because…

“Oh, how we love to ponder about Our Beloved Ducks!”

Charles Fischer   (Mr. FishDuck)
Eugene, Oregon
Top Photo from Pac-12 Video

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