9 Days Until Spring Practice: Field Goal Kicking

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Before the season begins, everybody gets wrapped up in such things as quarterback play, running back rotations, defensive line depth, or replacing that star middle linebacker.  Field goal kicking rarely gets discussed.  Today, we’ll do exactly that.

In the early years of the ACC era, Virginia Tech was spoiled by a run of terrific kickers.  That came crashing down in 2013 with Cody Journell’s struggles and ultimate dismissal from the football program.

Let’s take a look at Tech’s field goal kicking on a year by year basis.  We’ll take it back to 2007, which is as far back as FootballOutsiders.com’s special teams efficiency stats go.  Let’s see where each team ranked in field goal kicking, as well as get a quick recap of the primary kicker(s).

2007: #31.  Jud Dunlevy was a very impressive 21-of-26 in 2007.  In fact, he was 14-of-15 from inside 40 yards, which is outstanding.  Tech’s offense struggled that year, but it helped to know that if they got the ball in the redzone they were automatically going to come away with points.

2008: #33.  Dustin Keys took over the job in 2008 and was an admirable 23-of-29.  Like Dunlevy, he was nearly automatic from inside 40 yards, going 17-of-19.

2009: #26.  Matt Waldron served as Tech’s placekicker in 2009.  He went 20-of-23 for the season, good for an 87% conversion rate.  He was 16-of-17 from inside 40 yards, and 4-of-6 from beyond 40.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

2010: #4.  Well, it doesn’t get much better than Waldron’s numbers until Chris Hazley lines up to kick!  Hazley went 21-of-22 in 2010.  In fact, he made every single kick he attempted from beyond 40 yards.  That’s nuts!

2011: #63.  Tech went 18-of-25 as a team in 2011.  What hurt their percentage was using Justin Myer as a long-range specialist, and he missed two kicks from beyond 50 yards.  Those are very low percentage tries, especially for a guy who had never kicked before.  Tyler Weiss missed his only attempt.  Starter Cody Journell was 14-of-17.

2012: #41.  2012 was a good year for Journell, as he went 20-of-25.  He 14-of-15 inside of 40 yards, and he made a big field goal to beat UVA to clinch a bowl bid.

2013: #104.  Things started getting outta whack in 2013.  Cody Journell was kicked