Trying to Replace Teggart

STORRS, Conn. – Replacing a reliable, consistent and often sensational player is never an easy thing for a football coach. When that player happens to be former Connecticut placekicker Dave Teggart, the holder of almost every school record at the position, the task can become even more complicated.

UConn coach Paul Pasqualoni and his assistants are directing that job search right now. But heading into the Blue-White spring game on Saturday (1 p.m., Rentschler Field), they know there will be more evaluation in the fall.

This thing is far from over.

Right now, it's up to redshirt junior Chad Christen and redshirt freshman David Goodrich to try to fill the void. With Christen looking like the frontrunner at this point in the spring, Goodrich and incoming freshman Bobby Puyol will make a push in the fall with the hope they can be next in line to fill Teggart's shoes.

Earlier this week Pasqualoni talked about how impressed he has been with Christen throughout spring practices but also hinted that Puyol, who is rated as one of the top 10 incoming kickers in the nation, will push Christen even more.

"Bobby Puyol is going to come in here and Bobby is going to compete," Pasqualoni said. "So this whole deal will start over again but I think that Chad is working hard to put himself in position to have a good pre season."

The spotlight will be totally on Christen during Saturday's spring game. Christen has handled kickoffs for UConn the past two seasons. He has also been Teggart's holder.

"We're going to split the teams into blue and white but [Christen] is going to do all the kicking," Pasqualoni said. "He is not just going to kick for one side, he's going to kick for both sides."

Teggart established a number of records: first in career field goals (74), first in extra points (128) and first in career points (349). Teggart was also named first team All-Big East in both the 2010 and 2011 seasons.

But Christen can't dwell on what has been done before him. He has to look at what is ahead and make every spring practice and every scrimmage session count.

"The main goal is to go out and show coach that during the scrimmages when it counts that I can perform well," Christen said. "We had individual meeting with [Pasqualoni] and he told us that he is evaluating us on our production during scrimmage situations."

Both kickers have been willing to prove themselves and Goodrich remains prepared if something changes and he gets called on.

"It's definitely [would] help to get live reps in front of more people and get some experience in a little bigger situation then regular practice," Goodrich said. "And it will really help to try and get some experience that I wasn't getting before when I was the third guy."

Experience is something that neither Christen nor Goodrich have because of Teggart's consistency as a starter since taking over in his sophomore campaign. Playing the spring game at Rentschler Field will certainly help out in gaining some of that experience necessary for playing at a high level.

"That's what we've been waiting for this whole spring," Christen said. "It's going to be game situations and then come this fall that's exactly what it is going to be like in a live game."

Pasqualoni realizes there is a lack of experience at the position and a good outing from Christen on Saturday is vital to progress.

"When the ball is down and we can get points, Chad has got to go out there and get those points," Pasqualoni said. "So this is a big day for him, a big day for him."

Christen is well aware this is his job to lose at this point. He wants to make every chance count.

"This is my year to be the starter," Christen said. "So it will be exactly what it is on Saturday, live game situations, and I have got to take advantage of it every time." Managing Editor Ken Davis contributed to this story.

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