Perfect, Yet Humble

Even on a week where Thomas Weber was honored as the Pac-10 special teams player of the week, the media attention he received was minimal at best. That fact or perhaps the fierce position battle he was engaged in during fall camp has kept this flawless field goal kicker grounded.

"That's fine," said the 6-1 202 Thomas Weber on the sparse interview requests he has received this week. "It was a great honor (winning Pac-10 special teams player of the week) and I'm just happy that I was able to help my team win. Whatever it takes I'll do it to put points on the board."

After converting all four his field goal attempts last week against Stanford, as well as netting two touchbacks, and contributing to a kickoff coverage unit that held the Cardinal to only 13 yards per return, the redshirt freshman admitted that he wasn't shocked that he won that the aforementioned award.

"Every week I check out the kickers and the punters around the league," he remarked. "All positions do that because you want to compare yourself to the others in the Pac-10. That's who we're competing against. So after I saw all the numbers, I knew I had a good chance of winning."

Weber can certainly appreciate this award, after the roller coaster ride he's been a part of since he was designated as the team's place kicker. During the spring, he started out on fire the first week; just to fade away in the weeks to come. The question marks of his abilities didn't subside in the beginning of fall camp, and at times he was in serious jeopardy losing his position in favor of walk-on kicker Zach Richards.

The last couple of weeks in August Weber was able to elevate his game, brush off the competition and ultimately even surprise himself these days, as he sits at 10-10 on field goal attempts so far in 2007. "That competition I had is definitely part of the reason why I'm doing so well," he admitted. "That pressure in camp gives you more game-like experience, and helps you get prepared better. But I still have a lot to improve."

Excuse me?

Weber is already the model of precision in his field goals. Moving back the kicking tee five yards from last season, doesn't prevent him from driving he ball deep more often than not on kickoffs. What else is there for him to better himself and his skills?

"I just need to keep it going, stay confident, stay comfortable in my abilities, and get more consistent with my kickoffs," he replied. "I don't know what was going on with my squibs…I need to get the ball up the air and give the coverage team a chance to make a play."

A delicate balance of leg strength and technique is needed for a kicker to be successful and consistent. Weber took a minute to explain how that theory materializes in a game.

"In kickoffs, it's a lot about leg strength," he noted. "I'm very happy with my touchback ratio, and it's great to help out the defense and pin the other team inside their 20-yard line. It helps a lot when the other team has to go 80 yards to score a touchdown."

"In field goals, there's more technique involved. There are a lot of things like the snap, the hold, the protection. (long snapper) John Perkins and I joke that we (along with holder Jonathan Johnson) are like a tri-pod," he stated. "They both do a great job keeping things flowing; the credit should go as much to them, and the protection, as it does for me."

Much like a punter who punts often, a kicker with several attempts in a game can represent an ineffective offense. Weber surely felt the pressure in the Stanford game where his two first quarter field goals were the only scoring in the game, until the last couple of minutes in the half.

Weber views every time he enters the game for a field goal attempt as an opportunity, not a burden when the offense is stalling. "Sometimes you have one or two plays that throw off the drive, and that's when you know that you have to get the points on the board," he remarked. "Scoring two field goals early in the game is what the team was looking for to have a good start."

ASU's kicker realizes how mental his position is, and how important it is to zone out elements that can adversely impact you. For now, Weber has nailed down that trait as the coaches are confident in him as the starter.

"I have to admit that I'm surprised," he said of his performance. "It's great, but I'm feeling very comfortable and confident. That's what Coach Erickson wants me to be. Coach also talks about not missing opportunities to make plays, in practice or a game"

Thus far, to say Weber is making the most of his chances would be an understatement.

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