Brindza named once…not twice

Irish senior kicker Kyle Brindza was named to the Lou Groza pre-season watch list. He hopes to etch his name as a Ray Guy finalist before season's end.

Wednesday was a mixed bag for Kyle Brindza. The senior made the watchlist for the Groza Award, given to the outstanding kicker in college but wasn’t listed for the Guy Award, which is its punting equivalent. Brindza sets high goals for himself and after the announcement he took to Twitter to reinforce has hopes for this season.

“Blessed to be on the Lou Groza Award watchlist but this is just the start,” Brindza tweeted.

“Going to be my best year. Don’t sleep on me chasing the Ray Guy Award either.”

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Brindza is confident after a stellar junior season that saw him connect on 20 of 26 field goals and tie an NCAA bowl record by kicking five against Rutgers in the Pinstripe Bowl.

He has also been excellent in clutch situations for the Irish, kicking 12 of 13 fourth quarter field goals during his time here, with the lone miss coming in a blowout win against Temple in the 2013 season opener. In the past Brindza has likened himself to Mariano Rivera because he sees himself as Notre Dame’s closer and with that strike rate it is hard to argue with him.

Last season he was also on punting duty and averaged 41.1 yards per punt. While many thought that would be enough to make both watch lists Brindza will have to be content with just one for the time being.

Notre Dame will face four kickers and three punters from the watch lists on their schedule this year, including last year’s Groza Award winner from Florida State, Roberto Aguayo, who is looking to become the first two time winner since fellow Seminole Sebastian Janikowski (1998, 1999).

Rice - James Farrimond (Guy Award)

Syracuse - Riley Dixon (Guy Award)

North Carolina - Thomas Hibbard (Guy Award)

Florida State - Roberto Aguayo (Groza Award)

Arizona State - Zane Gonzalez (Groza Award)

Louisville - John Wallace (Groza Award)

Stanford - Jordan Williamson (Groza Award)

Perhaps one of the reasons Brindza is so driven to win both awards this season is because no Notre Dame player has ever won either. David Ruffer was a Groza Award finalist in 2010 but lost out to Oklahoma State’s Dan Bailey, who now plays for the Dallas Cowboys. Kevin Pendergast was a semi finalist in the award’s second year in 1993 but lost to Florida’s Judd Davis.

The closest any Notre Dame punter has come to winning the Guy Award was Geoff Price getting named a semi finalist in 2006 but he was beaten by Baylor’s Daniel Sepulveda who went on to win the Super Bowl with the Pittsburgh Steelers.


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