There is likely no player on the current University of Arkansas football team who has endured more criticism than senior Alex Tejada.
But such is the life of a field goal kicker, whose every miss is not soon forgotten whose makes are hardly remembered.
Even Tejada himself says he doesn't linger on the success, such as the game-winning field goal to down East Carolina 23-20 in the Liberty Bowl – something that came after three misses.
"I wasn't satisfied at all," Tejada said. "To be honest, after that game it's been forgotten, it's in the past, it doesn't matter any more. Right now winning a championship is on my mind and being a champion at the end of the year. That's what really matters to me."
Tejada was 16-of-22 on field goals last season, making him 37-of-54 in his career.
He was 8-of-8 from 20-29 yards, 4-of-6 from 30-39, 3-of-5 from 40-49 and 0-of-2 from 50 yards and beyond.
In his career, he is 29-of-34 from inside the 40, but just 7-of-19 from beyond that range.
"I know that when I am sent out there, it doesn't matter what the distance or what the situation, I am supposed to make the kick," Tejada said. "I don't ever want to let my team down and there are no reasons to let them down."
He certainly got the message from the UA coaching staff when it signed kickers Eddie Camara and Zack Hocker in the off-season – albeit Hocker was slated to be a punter first and foremost.
All three have ended up engaged in the battle.
"The competition has worked," Tejada said. "We are making each other better and that's the main thing. These two guys have a lot of potential. We'll see what happens. It's up to the coaches."
Both Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino and special teams coordinator John L. Smith have praised Tejada for his work, but Petrino says he will wait until the last moment to make his decision.
"I feel like I have had a good camp and everybody is just trying to push everybody else to be the best they can be," Tejada said.
"I've just tried to keep get stronger in the weight room and staying in the game and keeping a strong mentality of going out there and being consistent every day," Tejada added. "That's been my main focus."
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