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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Not so special; Wildcats unable to convert FGs

Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat UofA loss to Stanford Saturday, September 17, 2011 at Arizona Stadium

Kicking an extra point after a touchdown is just something that you have to make.

For the Arizona Wildcats this season, their Achilles heel of not being able to convert field goals or extra points is starting to turn into a death sentence. It left former head coach Mike Stoops baffled and interm head coach Tim Kish in left to pick up the pieces.

“I don’t know what to think about our kicking game right now,” Stoops told the media in Corvallis, Ore., after the Wildcats’ 37-27 loss to Oregon State. “It totally discombobulates my thinking on everything. We keep giving people chances and opportunities but at some point it becomes ridiculous.”

Coming off a week where he missed back-to-back extra points, Arizona kicker Alex Zendejas needed to come out strong against Oregon State if he wanted to retain his starting position.
Simply put, he didn’t.

After missing a field goal attempt and another extra point, the 12th missed extra point of his career, Stoops decided to hand the job over to kick-off specialist John Bonano.

“I don’t know what’s wrong with Alex,” Stoops said. “I really don’t.”

Bonano has been the Arizona kick-off man since the start of the season and hadn’t taken a scoring try in two years, but he converted on an extra point with 11 minutes left in the game.

Bonano had been prepared to fill the role since the start of the week when Stoops told him that he might see some time on Saturday.

“Coach told me before the game to be ready and that I could go in at some point this game,” Bonano told the media in Corvallis. “When I saw the first two missed, I started getting mentally prepared and (took) some kicks.”

For a team that is now sitting at 1-5 after Saturday and wondering where half of its season has gone, it’s obviously not just the kicking game that is plaguing the Wildcats, but the lack of confidence is certainly not helping.

If Arizona can’t take advantage of all its scoring opportunities, then there is no way it can be successful — simple as that.

Assuming Bonano retains the starting job, Kish might begin to have some confidence in his team’s ability to score points in other ways than crossing the goal line.

“I have been traveling as the backup field goal kicker for a while,” Bonano said. “I am focusing on kickoffs as my specialty so I have been ready, but they finally called my name.”

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