Parkey Aiming For Perfection

Auburn sophomore kicker Cody Parkey discusses his improvement on the field.

Auburn, Ala.—Whoever the starting quarterback is for the Auburn Tigers will have the unenviable task of replacing Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton, but a player that may have just as tough of a job is sophomore kicker Cody Parkey. Replacing Auburn's all-time leading scorer Wes Byrum in the task of kicking field goals and extra-points, Parkey has his work cut out for him.

Last season all Byrum did was kick the game winner in the BCS National Championship game and finish the year making 17-22 field goals and 72-73 extra-points along the way. His 123 points in one season was the best in school history as was his total of 363 points, which is fifth in SEC history.

Now with his turn rapidly approaching Parkey said the preseason has been a good one for him as he steps into his role as the Auburn kicker.

"It has been really big for me," Parkey said. "It's an opportunity for me to step up and show everybody what I'm made of. I was waiting for this all year last year sitting behind Wes. He's a phenomenal kicker and I learned a lot from him. Now it's my time.

"This preseason me and Josh Harris (snapper) and Ryan White (holder) have been working really hard on field goals. I'm working really hard on my kickoffs too. I'm trying to be the best I can be."

Making his only two extra-point attempts last fall, Parkey got most of his action on the kickoff team. In 35 attempts last season he averaged 63.2 yards with a pair of touchbacks. Now stronger and showing a bigger leg, he said he's excited to see what the season holds for him in 2011.

"I put on a lot of muscle over the summer with Coach Yox (Kevin Yoxall)," Parkey said. "He has really worked me hard in getting my leg stronger. It has really shown so far. I'm kicking the ball a lot farther."

One of the things that has given Parkey confidence is the way he kicked in the spring. With the pressure of showing that he could do the job squarely on his shoulders Parkey had a strong showing to put himself and everyone else at ease.

"I wanted to go out there and show my teammates what I'm capable of," Parkey said of the spring. "I wanted to show them that I was their kicker and they could trust me. I'm just excited to go out there and show them what I'm made of."

One of the things Parkey has been working on is consistency and as a kicker that comes with routine. Byrum had that with snapper Josh Harris and holder Neil Caudle and it's something Parkey is looking for himself with Harris and holder Ryan White. He said so far things are going well with the trio.

"It's huge because if he misses the spot by a little bit it's going to throw me off," Parkey said of White. "I need him to be perfect just like I need to be perfect and we need Josh to be perfect. We all work as a unit and he's done a really good job so far."

With the season now just over two weeks away Parkey said he feels good about his kicking heading into 2011. For him it's all about perfection and helping the team as much as possible in any way he can.

"I want to be perfect on field goals," Parkey said. "I don't ever want to miss. I also want to put the ball in the end zone every time so the defense can have a great start. I'm just pumped up. We've got 17 or 18 days and I'm counting them down. It's just such an amazing feeling to be able to go out there and play for Auburn."

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