Kicking a football is much like hitting a golf ball. The swing of one's foot can be compared to a golf swing. A good kick can make the ball sail straight and through the uprights from a far distance. Or just like in golf a slice can look ugly leaving a team and its fans disappointed at the end of a game.
Last year Bearcat fans were excited about the early success of Jake Rogers when he hit a 55 yard field goal against Oregon State. But following that game the Bearcats would struggle hitting only 56% of their kicks for the season.
Heading into the spring the Bearcats looked to find out if Jake Rogers could hold off Brandon Yingling for the job. The results showed both needed work and a battle could be brewing when camp opened.
But looking back at last season you can see why the Bearcats coaching staff is working to make sure they have the right guy swinging for the goal post.
The 56% earned by the Bearcats was the worst in the Big East. Pittsburgh was the leagues best with 82% followed by UConn with 81%. Conference champion West Virginia hit for 73% that tied them with Rutgers. But believe it or not, Louisville beat the Mountaineers and Knights with 77% of their kicks going true.
But percentage numbers don't give you the whole story. Looking at the kicking game you have to look where a team kicks from based on the style of their offense and mindset of their head coach on when to kick or not.
Under Brian Kelly the most important numbers to remember are when the Bearcats look to kick field goals from 30 or more yards.
Last season the Bearcats attempted kicks from this distance a total of 15 times hitting on 8 of them. That is a 53% success rate or last in the Big East. The other teams in the conference hit for a combined rate of just under 67% with West Virginia being the top team hitting for 90% (9-10). The team closest to the Bearcats was Rutgers with a mark of 55% (10-18).
So going into camp the Bearcats needed to find a kicker who could be successful in this range.
After a fast start Brandon Yingling looked to have found the edge. But as camp has progressed Jake Rogers has made his move and is looking to be the front runner when the season starts.
Tracking both kickers in camp we have the following results. Keep in mind camp is not over and things can change. But it looks as if Jake Rogers will start the season as the Bearcats kicker.
In our numbers we found both kickers to be perfect in PAT attempts. We've not seen any field goals tried from 19 yards or less in camp just like the Bearcats never attempted any during last season.
From 20-29 yards Rogers has hit 100% as compared to Yingling 86%.
From 30-39 yards Rogers has hit 64% with Yingling at 50%.
But here is where Rogers looks to have gained his advantage.
Kicks from 40+ yards find Rogers hitting for 77% of his kicks while Yingling is hitting from the same distance on only 20% of his kicks.
Both Rogers and Yingling have worked during the off season in the weight room, on the field and in the mental approach to their job. But it's on the field during camp where a winner will be named.
In practice on Tuesday both kickers were given four kicks from the same distance and the same placement. The practice is what coaches and student managers call "Wet Ball" day as the footballs have been soaked in water prior to being kicked.
Jake Rogers would go 3-4 in the drill with a long kick of 59 yards from the middle of the field. Yingling would go 2-2 and miss from 31 and 59 yards in the drill.
Going back to the other practice we tracked found Rogers hitting 4-4 with a long of 48 yards and Yingling going 2-2 with a long of 32 yards.
As camp continues fans shouldn't be surprised if Jake Rogers wins the kicking job going into the season as he continues to find success on the field.
Who Is Winning The Biggest Battle In Camp?
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