Auburn Tigers kicker Cody Parkey has made seven of eight field-goal attempts to open the 2013 season. His three-for-three performance in Auburn's 24–20 victory over Mississippi State Saturday night earned Parkey recognition from the Palm Beach County Sports Commission (PBCSC) as a Lou Groza National Collegiate Place-Kicker Award "Star of the Week."
The PBCSC names three "Stars of the Week" each Monday throughout the season. The other kickers recognized for Week 3 were Oregon State's Trevor Romaine and Rice's Chris Boswell.
Prior to the season, Parkey was named to the 2013 Groza Award watch list, and I predicted he would win the award. His only miss in Auburn's first three games was his first kick of the year—a 50-yard attempt against Washington State. He has since made seven consecutive attempts.
Historically, the Groza Award voters have forgiven misses of 50 yards or longer, but they have also given weighty consideration to successful long-range kicks. The Groza Award website points out that Rice's Boswell made a 56-yard kick last week and that he has now made 12 kicks of 50 yards or better in his career. If Parkey wants to stay in the competition, he'll have to connect from longer range at some point this season.
Another criterion the voters take into account is volume—that is, the number of field goals made.
The need for volume raises a concern for Parkey's Groza Award campaign. While he's made seven field goals already in 2013—compared to 11 in all of 2012—it's difficult to predict whether Auburn will continue attempting field goals so frequently. The team's red-zone offense appears to be improving as quarterback Nick Marshall develops as both a runner and a passer.
At the same time, if the Tigers begin running head coach Gus Malzahn's hurry-up, no-huddle offense at a quicker pace, the Auburn offense could generate more total opportunities for Parkey to kick, even while scoring touchdowns on a respectable percentage of red-zone chances.
This week, the Auburn Tigers travel to Baton Rouge to play sixth-ranked LSU on ESPN. If Parkey has a strong performance under the bright lights of Tiger Stadium, his quest for the Groza Award could take a solid step forward.
Josh Dowdy is a contributor to Bleacher Report and the author of Orange Is Our Color: The Tuberville Years through Navy-tinted Glasses.