Kicking The Bucket In Boulder

Nothing has frustrated Buff fans more the past few seasons than Colorado's inability to kick a field goal. From squib kicks to missed chip shots, CU has not had a kicker who can hit the big kick. So Head Coach Gary Barnett recruited two kickers he hopes will erase some of those bad memories.

Yes I am still bitter.

The year was 1999 and CU's Place kicker Jeremy Aldrich was lining up for a chip shot, game-winning field goal against Nebraska. I was standing under the goalpost, ready to lead the victory celebration onto Folsom Field, when Aldrich, one of CU's most accurate kickers in history, missed. The Buffs would not recover and although he made his attempt in overtime, the Cornhuskers scored a TD and Colorado would lose in OT.

Since then, it seems CU has not been able to find a guy who can kick a football.I need not have to remind you about the following year in Lincoln, Nebraska. After one of the gutsiest calls in CU history, the Buffs took a 32-31 lead when Craig Ochs connected with WR Jevon Green for a two-point conversion. Then came the infamous squib kick. Mark Mariscal, who had two attempts blocked and missed two more, squib kicked the ball to about the NU 40-yard line. The corn proceeded to drive down the field and kick a 29-yard game winning field goal as time expired. If Mariscal could have hit one of those attempts, it's a different story.

Fast- forward to last years' Big 12 championship game and CU's next kicker extrodinaire Patrick Brougham. Not only did he miss all three of his attempts, but he killed all of CU's momentium by missing a chip-shot 33-yard field goal after the Buffs cut the Sonners lead to 13-7.

Oklahoma proceeded to march down the field and score a touchdown and put the game out of reach.

So why can't the Buffs find a kicker? Place kickers should be lining up to kick in Boulder's evelation. After missing 15 field goal attempts and three extra points in 2002, Head Coach Gary Barnett had seen enough and went out and recruited two kickers. Yes, that's how badthe kicking has been, he RECRUITED TWO KICKERS! True freshmen Kevin Eberhart and Mason Crosby will compete with Sophomore Justin Zaitz and Junior J.T. Eberly.

As fall practice gets underway, Barnett said the kicking job is wide open. He also said that he is more concerned about who will be kicking than he is about who will be playing quarterback. Let the competition begin.

Here are the bio's on the two recruits who may erase some of these awful memories.

CU Letter of intent 2003 signees: Kickers KEVIN EBERHART PK, 5-10, 180, Fr., HS, Broomfield, Colo. (Broomfield)

HIGH SCHOOL—As a senior, he earned first-team all-Colorado (Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News), all-state (4A), all-region (Boulder Camera) and all-Skyline League honors. Prep Football Report and SuperPrep both named him to their All-Midland teams (the top placekicker regionally in both; PFR also called him one of the nation's top punters), while Rivals.com rated him as the No. 24 kicker in the nation.

He was a second-team all-league performer at his scrimmage positions, receiver and strong safety. He was also all-state and all-league at both kicker and punter as a sophomore and junior. He finished his career as Colorado's all-time state leader in points by kicking (255) and field goals made (36), along with tying the record for the most career extra points made (147). As a senior, he made 10-of-15 field goals, including a 57-yard kick against Monarch that was the sixth longest in Colorado prep history. He also converted 28-of-29 PAT kicks, and owned a 43.6 average on 30 punts.

He not only handled the placekicking and punting chores, but played receiver on offense (15 catches for 60 yards and a TD) and strong safety on defense (98 tackles, 66 solo, with 12 for losses and four sacks; he also had three passes broken up, three hurries and two forced fumbles).

As a junior, he made 7-of-12 field goals (55 long) along with 61-of-67 PAT kicks. He was in on 50 tackles on defense (30 solo), with two pass deflections. One of just a handful of players in state history to make two field goals of 50-yards or longer in the same season, his top career game came against Monarch as a senior when he nailed the 57-yard three-pointer; he was in on 23 tackles (18 solo), with a forced fumble, one PBU and a second field goal from 35 yards out. A 32-yard field goal against Monarch his sophomore year gave Broomfield a two-point win and clinched the Skyline title.

Broomfield was 8-3 his senior year, 13-1 his junior season (league champs, state runner-up) and 10-3 his sophomore year (league titleists) under coach Gary Davies. He also played basketball as a freshman.

ACADEMICS—He is majoring in aerospace engineering at Colorado (wants to work for NASA or Ball Aerospace as an engineer after graduation). A consistent member of the "A" honor roll throughout high school (3.733 grade point), he was one of 11 scholar-athletes in Colorado for 2002 as selected by the Colorado Chapter National Football Foundation/College Hall of Fame. VITALS—Has 4.5 speed in the 40 and bench presses 225 pounds.

RECRUITING—He selected Colorado over Stanford, Air Force, Oregon, Michigan, LSU and San Diego State. PERSONAL—He was born Nov. 28, 1984 in Denver. His hobbies include snowboarding and drawing.

MASON CROSBY PK, 6-2, 185, Fr., HS, Georgetown, Texas (Georgetown)

HIGH SCHOOL—As a senior, he earned first-team all-district honors (13-5A) at placekicker, punter and free safety, and was all-Central Texas at kicker. PrepStar named him to its all-Midlands team, while Rivals.com ranked him as the No. 3 placekicker in the nation. He was first-team all-district and second-team all-region at kicker as a junior.

As a senior, he converted 7-of-11 field goals (long of 59) and 23-of-25 extra point kicks; he owned a 39.8 average for 40 punts (61 long), with 10 inside-the-20 and five inside-the-5. He also made a 65-yard field goal in practice. At free safety, he had 78 tackles (26 solo), eight for losses, three interceptions, three passes broken up, three forced fumbles and two recoveries. As a junior, he made 8-of-10 field goals (52 long) and 17-of-20 PATs (all misses were blocked). He averaged 37 yards on 60 punts (64 long), with eight inside-the-20. He had 58 tackles (25 solo, 10 for losses), with three interceptions, four passes broken up, three hurries and two fumble recoveries.

Top career games included a 30-20 loss to Copperas Cove as a junior, when he made three field goals (52, 46 and 39 yards) against a team that came in with five straight shutouts. In a 10-3 loss to Cedar Park his senior year, he made the longest field goal in Texas in eight years when he drilled a career-best 59-yarder; it tied him for the third longest in state history.

He also had a 61-yard punt in the game. And in a 21-7 win over Round Rock as a senior, he had seven tackles and two interceptions, returning one for a touchdown and kicking the PAT following the score. Georgetown was 5-5 his senior year and 6-4 his junior season under coach Larry Moore. He also earned two letters in soccer (defense/midfielder), earning all-district honors as both a sophomore (14 goals) and junior (17 goals).

ACADEMICS—He is interested in business (marketing) as his major at Colorado. He was a consistent member of the "A-B" honor roll throughout high school.

VITALS—Has 4.55 speed in the 40 and bench presses 265 pounds.

RECRUITING—He selected Colorado over Texas and Oklahoma. PERSONAL—He was born Sept. 3, 1984 in Lubbock, Texas. His hobbies include hunting (deer/exotic), fishing, playing basketball and hiking. Father (Jim) was a fullback at Texas-El Paso in the mid-1970s, and a grandfather (Harry Crosby) ran track at Marshall. He spent two years in Fort Collins as a youngster, and attended several CU games during that time and became a Buff fan.

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