The Norman Transcript

Sports

October 9, 2012

Not getting in their kicks

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas coach Mack Brown has an unfamiliar problem: The Longhorns’ field-goal kicking is not good.

For years, good kicking at Texas was simply taken for granted. Scholarship players and walk-ons alike made Texas 9-0 in the Brown era when the Longhorns needed a field goal in the final two minutes to win, including a Rose Bowl victory, a Big 12 championship and bragging rights to end a century-old rivalry with Texas A&M.

But field goals are less than a 50-50 chance through the first five games this season, raising concerns that Texas kickers simply can’t be counted on in crunch time with No. 13 Oklahoma (4-1, 1-1 Big 12) next on the schedule. The problem was easy to mask when the No. 15 Longhorns (4-1, 1-1) started 4-0 start with three blowouts. Even a nail-biter at Oklahoma State ended with Texas scoring a late touchdown instead of having to kick.

But last week, Penn State transfer Anthony Fera missed a 41-yard attempt with about five minutes left that would have tied the game. Texas ended up losing to West Virginia, 48-45.

It was Fera’s first game after sitting out with a groin injury. He had made a 38-yarder in the third quarter that gave Texas a four-point lead. With that miss, Texas is just 4 of 9 on field goals with none longer than 40 yards.

“I think Anthony will be great,” Brown said Monday. “We didn’t know until pregame that he would kick ... The last one was not a bad kick, it was just off to the right.”

Texas kicks have gone right down the middle so many times for so many years that a miss can come as a shock.

“I just expect us to make them,” Brown said before the season started.

Justin Tucker booted Texas to a win over Texas A&M on the final play in that rivalry last season. He’s now with Baltimore Ravens and Texas spent the spring trying to find his replacement.

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