Field goal kicker is one of the most scrutinized positions in football. Their narrow range of obligations command a condescending outside perception, a general sense they don’t belong in the game, nor deserve the recognition of being called a “football player” in the first place. The validity of kickers’ role in the sport will be debated on end, but their fundamental importance cannot be denied. Kickers decide games, change seasons, define championships.
They also, however “unathletic” or “worthless” or “dumb” you perceive their place in an otherwise brutally physical sport to be, can do some pretty amazing things with a football. Northwestern’s Jeff Budzien was one of the best kickers in college football last season, and he took the practice field for training camp this week with the rest of his teammates.
Except normal field goals weren’t challenging enough for the senior – who last season set a school record by converting 19-of-20 field goals, and enters 2013 on the Lou Groza Award watch list for the nation’s best kicker – so he decided to try something else. Splitting the uprights? Child’s play. Try purposefully hitting the goalpost.
Unfortunately, our tireless InsidenNU training camp correspondents couldn’t confirm @NU_Sports’ claim that Budzien hit the upright on his first try. If he did, I wouldn’t be surprised – Budzien may lack for LEGATRON-like range, but he is one of the most accurate kickers in the country. I just never knew he was this accurate.
Beyond being an insanely cool video-captured trickshot (one featured on ESPN’s College Football Live), Budzien might have added a second tailwind to his already booming Groza Award momentum. The @Budzien4Groza account laid the foundation for success; now Budzien has the trickshot chops to backup the preseason hype. Not to mention, duh, the prolific numbers he put up last season.
The Wildcats may have banished Budzien from Big Ten media days, but they might want to consider bringing him along for this season’s Big Ten championship run. Who knows, maybe referees will be so impressed by his pinpoint accuracy, they’ll consider creating a rulebook loophole whereby Budzien can kick five-point field goals. Probably not.
This is awesome all the same. Budzien is in mid-season form, clearly.