Pettrey Striving For Consistency

After waiting for his chance to be Ohio State's sole placekicker again, Aaron Pettrey is hoping for consistency during his senior season. He showed signs of improvement during Friday's kick scrimmage, making a 57-yard kick and a scrimmage-winning 34-yard boot. Read on to find out more about the progress of the Raceland, Ky., native.

Aaron Pettrey's booming leg was on display during Friday's kick scrimmage. The senior placekicker made a 57-yard kick in his second attempt of the event. Yet he was happier with the last kick he made, a 34-yard boot, and not just because it gave his Scarlet squad a 30-27 victory.

His final kick showcased his maturity and ability to make shorter kicks.

Pettrey entered spring practice as starting kicker following the graduation of Ryan Pretorius. Pettrey and Pretorius split kicking duties in 2008, with Pettrey handling the long boots and the South African taking the shorter kicks.

"I'm not battling the old man anymore. He's gone," Pettrey said. "Now I just do the same thing, working every day with (long snapper) Jake McQuaide and (holder) Jon Thoma. We're just trying to get better and be as consistent as we can for when the season rolls around."

Consistency is the key for Pettrey in '09. He has shown he can make the longer kicks, but the Ohio State coaching staff wants to see more accuracy from shorter distances by the Raceland, Ky., native. He made seven of eight field goal attempts in 2008 but only one of those attempts was from inside 40 yards.

"He's always had talent," said graduate assistant coach Chad Rogosheske, who has been working with the specialists. "He's always had a big leg. What we have tried to establish with him is consistency because he could always hit the long field goals for us. With the ones that he should make we weren't getting the kind of consistency that we always wanted."

"I think maturity-wise he's made strides there. The big thing, and I think what Coach Tressel was impressed about, he really committed himself this offseason to his training to his kicking to his mental game. He's done a lot of things. He looks different physically. He looks thinner. He looks leaner. I think he's in about a good of shape as he's been in."

This season Pettrey is the main man, ahead of Ben Buchanan and Devin Barclay. Pettrey is the frontrunner, a position he thrives in.

"It definitely give you more confidence," Pettrey said. "It makes me better when I'm competing. I'm definitely going to be competing with Ben and Devin, but just being out front, I think it gives me more confidence as a kicker."

Rogosheske said he saw the increased confidence during the kick scrimmage. At one point Pettrey made nine straight kicks during Friday's scrimmage.

"I felt that aura was there with him today," Rogosheske said. "The other players on the sidelines try to get in the kickers' heads when they're doing the series of field goals. Maybe in the past, if Aaron had one blocked or missed one, that might have gotten to him. I thought he was a little bit mentally tougher today in that respect."

That confidence was on display at the end of the kick scrimmage. After Gray punted out from its 1-yard line and Buchanan's 43-yard punt was returned 27 yards by DeVier Posey, Pettrey calmly booted the winning field goal. Pettrey and his Scarlet teammates mobbed each other at midfield while their Gray counterparts made their way out of Ohio Stadium to begin their three-quarters-of-a-mile walk back to the Woody Hayes Athletic Complex.

"It just builds confidence within me and hopefully within my teammates too," Pettrey said. "If I have one this season hopefully they'll know I'll go out there and make it like today."

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