The Texas Longhorns might decide to go for it a lot more on fourth downs this season instead of settling for a field goal.
It has nothing to do with coach Charlie Strong believing he must amp up the risk-reward factor in his crucial Year 3. It has everything to do with the fact that Strong doesn’t have a place kicker on the roster to replace Nick Rose.
“Well, we have to find us a kicker and that’s an issue right now,” Strong told reporters Tuesday following a spring practice.
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Rose handled extra points, field goals and kickoffs for the Longhorns. He had the extra-point gaffe at the end of the Cal loss that spoiled a terrific comeback, but overall he was pretty decent, much better than in 2014 when he missed 7 of 21 attempts. Rose nailed 13 of 17 field-goal attempts with half of his misses coming from 50 yards or farther.
Of his 63 kickoffs last season, 47 went for touchbacks.
“We have some guys that are lining up and they’re kicking the ball, but we have to be more consistent,” Strong said. “We’re going to miss Nick Rose because the thing he could do was kick the ball out of the end zone, and so now I told our kickoff team they’re going to have to cover. So we just have to find us a kicker there.”
Maybe full-time onside kicks are an option?
Officially, Texas has two inexperienced place kickers listed on its roster, redshirt freshman Jon Coppens, who attended Nolan Catholic, and sophomore Evan Moore from Aubrey.
Judging by Strong’s “we have to find a kicker” comment, it doesn’t appear either one of the candidates is kicking the pigskin off the ball.
Strong was asked about the possibility of finding a kicker whois not on the team. Strong didn’t seem all too enthused about that possibility either.
“I don’t know who that would be because we’ve got our guys here now,” Strong said. “We didn’t sign a kicker. We’re going to generate one. Are we going to generate one somewhere?”
The term generate means finding a kicker to bring into the program before next season starts like the Longhorns did last year with Australian punter Michael Dickson, who was signed last June. But finding a decent punter can be a lot easier than a dependable place kicker.
“Are we trying to generate a kicker now?” Strong said with a bit of laugh. “We’re always looking for someone. If you find me a kicker, send him to me. I need him.”