N. Iowa Coach Mark Farley on Mackenzie Hoambrecker

Northern Iowa Head Coach Mark Farley joined Chargers Update to talk shop regarding clutch kicker Mackenzie Hoambrecker and his career at Northern Iowa. Hoambrecker joined the San Diego Chargers just after the 2003 NFL Draft and was told at that time by special teams coach Steve Crosby that the best man will win the job this season as Hoambrecker battles veteran Steve Christie.

Mackenzie Hoambrecker, formerly of Northern Iowa, kicked a school-record 59-yard field goal in his final college game, with 37 seconds left to give Northern Iowa a 25-24 victory over Southwest Missouri State.

Hoambrecker finished his senior season 25-of-29 after a junior season saw him hit 18-of-25 field goals, with a long of 45, and 41-of-43 extra points.

"How is he doing right now first off," asks Coach Farley.

I explained to Coach that he looked really good during individual drills and how he was kicking the ball with authority from outside the 40, missing the two 51 yarders. I then explained he seemed a bit nervous during the live drills and was not performing as well shanking a few kickoffs and not as crisp overall.

Coach, tell us a little bit about his career with you at Northern Iowa.

"He did a great job for us here. He was a huge part of some wins that came down to the final kick and he did a great job under pressure. Two years ago, we defeated a Division I team on a last second field goal early in the season and the season culminated when we played for our Conference Championship and it came down to the final kick of the game and he won that as well. That was about a 38 yarder. So that was two years ago and he came in with great expectations and he fulfilled everything we thought he would do.

"He actually, in an early season game at Cal Poly, ended up having to kick a 58 yarder to take it into overtime and he hit the 58 yarder and then continued on to kick three field goals in overtime to keep it going and actually won the game with a field goal. That was about as much pressure as a young man can have in one game. He had four critical kicks and hit all four. And then came back later in the season, actually the last game of the season, had to kick a 59 yarder to win the game in the last game of the year as a senior here. Sure enough he made the 59 yarder and he probably made it by 10 yards.

"He did a great job for us and helped us pull of some big wins. Some great kicks under pressure and he came through for us."

Hoambrecker set a school and Gateway Conference record when he hit five field goals in a game, performing the feat twice in 2002.

Was he scouted heavily?

"You know he wasn't."

"He was here when I arrived that was only my second season so he has spent the last two seasons here with me. He was kind of an unknown, but by all means he was not when he left. He was a very consistent competitor and you really never hesitated to put him onto the field.

"I kind of based my decisions on where the ball was placed, where the ball was spotted. Anything inside the 40 was an automatic decision to kick the field goal and outside the 40 I started looking at the conditions and the winds and those types of things to make the decision on whether to go for the field goal."

You guys play in a dome correct? Were his longest kicks also in domes?

"Yes sir. His longest kick inside the dome was 59 yards a school record and NCAA -- I know it was a dome record. He had a 59 yarder here and outside he hit a 58 yarder."

I have heard clutch in association with Mackenzie. Is this a correct word for him and why?

"Clutch is such a good word for him. He is a very focused young man and he can shut those exterior elements out and go out and make the key kick. To be honest, I have watched many a game, whether it be a Bowl game or an NFL playoff game, and sometimes I see them punting the football when they are right around the 40 yard line, and around here it wasn't really a decision because of Mackenzie.

The crazy part is Hoambrecker has shown range beyond the 50 yard line including 2-2 beyond 58.

How is he off the field?

"Family oriented. Definitely a person that believes in the higher power and stays focused within himself."

Currently NFL kickers are converting just 71.7% of their field goal attempts, which is the lowest conversion percentage in over ten years.

"I think he is a great find. I cannot see him not being a major player as I watch some of these guys and knowing some of the kickers in the league. He will land, hopefully he sticks with the Chargers but he will be a factor in the NFL for years to come."

He also led the NCAA I-AA in field goals made (25) and field-goal percentage (.893) with at least 11 attempted. Hoambrecker also finished 11th in the nation in scoring with 93 points.

"I miss Mackenzie already. Before it was a no brainer to kick with Mackenzie, now it becomes a thought process. We were fortunate to have him so you have got a good one there."

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net or via the following link: Denis Savage

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