Tiger Kicker Trying To Get Into A Groove

<!--Default For Auburn is to ignore-->Auburn, Ala.--After only hitting six of 10 field goal attempts last season and missing two of his first four in 2004, <!--Default NodeId For John Vaughn is 1427155,2004--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:1427155]>John Vaughn</A> is getting into a groove and has hit his last five field goal attempts for the Tigers.

Vaughn, who is now 7-9 on the season and 2-2 from 40-yards out, says that getting on a roll is very important for him. "Kicking is obviously a mental thing and when you are in that groove you get prepared for the game," the 6-1, 200-pounder says. "I have had--warming up for a game and getting in a groove, the last two weeks I haven't missed a kick before a game at all unless it was 50 yards and I was just trying to see what I had that day. And getting in that groove has just really, really helped especially with the perfectionism thing because I tend to get really frustrated when things aren't going right."

The true sophomore adds that even though he has been hitting his mark well in warmups the last few weeks that his current in-game streak is much more important. "How I performed in the games," he explains. "No matter how you warm up--it is actually a funny thing, through high school and even here some a lot of times when I have warmed up really bad I have actually had my best game. I don't know how that carries over.

"If I have been kicking well in game I am not going to go out there thinking I have got to get this one," the kicker adds. "But, I have hit the last few so I am definitely trying to just keep it going. It is a lot more natural when you are having success to just go out there and do your thing instead of trying to let thoughts take over."

John Vaughn kicks a 42-yard field goal in the Tigers' 52-7 win over Louisiana Tech.

The former Brentwood Academy standout says one reason he may be kicking better is just more experience. "I just worked really hard in the offseason, and basically I am finally just getting used to college football," he notes. "It is just a whole lot different that high school was for me and really, I am just now getting used to it. I am still not there. I have still got a long way to go, but just finally getting more comfortable out on the field in the game."

The only negative in recent weeks was a missed PAT in the second half vs. Arkansas to end Auburn's consecutive makes streak at an SEC record 209. Vaughn made his first try, but was wide right when pushed back five yards after the Tigers received an illegal procedure penalty when the officials ruled there were not enough players on the line of scrimmage. Coach Tommy Tuberville wasn't happy about the miss, but says, "We'll just start another streak."

Vaughn says that he has to share some of his improvement in consistency with his holder Sam Rives and his snapper Chas Crofoot. "Yeah, we have a real good relationship," the sophomore says about Rives. "He is a great holder as he has proven that this year. He works hard and he has got great hands. I am never worried about his holds being down.

"Crofoot has done a really good job," Vaughn adds about the walk-on deep snapper, who replaced Pete Compton for the field goal snapping duties after the LSU game. "He works extremely hard and he cares about what he does a lot and it is showing out there a lot. He spends a lot of time on it and our timing seems to be really good together. We work everyday just on the straight up timing of it."

The Tigers' place kicker also notes that the timing of kicks is the one fundamental area that he has made a change in this season. "One thing I have actually done to help my consistency is to slow down," Vaughn notes. "I have been getting the ball off consistently for the first half of my career at least a tenth faster than I should. So, slowing down has definitely helped a little bit, and my timing with Chas seems to be pretty natural."

Overall, Vaughn says that he is feeling good about his kicking right now, but adds that there is still plenty of work to be done. "This is by far the most comfortable I have been since I've been here," he explains. "I can still get a lot better and I am going to keep working everyday.

"You can't slow down," Vaughn adds. "Coach Tuberville always talks about championship teams getting better as the season goes on. You don't get to a point where you think you are really good and just stay right there. You can always do something better and I am really making that a point this year to get better as the season goes on."

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