"To be a kicker, you have to be a little different," says Matt Waldron, a fifth-year senior kicker at Virginia Tech.
He adds, "You just have to practice enough so that 95 percent of the time, you trust your form to make the kick you want."
Practice. Preparation. Patience. That's what it's all about for Waldron. He became the No. 1 kicker for the team in his fifth year. What keeps him motivated?
The thought of making the game-winning kick: "It's something that a kicker sits around and dreams of—something you hope for because it's part of your job. Every kick is a big kick to me."
Although he doesn't know what it's like to miss a big kick in a college football game—Waldron has made every attempt so far this season—he knows that it will be a disappointing feeling. He also knows that his focus will immediately go to the "next big kick."
Waldron has that optimistic kicker attitude. He says, "Every kick is a game winner. If I hadn't made all my kicks against Nebraska, we wouldn't have won that game."
Tech head coach Frank Beamer had his team working on all the right things to take a win from that game. He had his team working on solid fundamentals to avoid penalties.
Nebraska had four penalties in a row in the third quarter—one of them negating a touchdown.
Beamer also puts specific emphasis on special teams. He's made a fifth-year senior the team's kicker for a few years in a row now. He also coaches the special teams himself.
Beamer, according to Waldron, is "always there to challenge [me]. It's not like kicking in high school—you have to come out every single day, and coach gives me a reason."
Waldron says that his team "definitely has what it takes to go all the way, but it's going to be hard."
As for next year, Waldron hasn't ruled out the NFL. "We'll see how the season goes," he laughs, adding, "I'll probably hold a couple combines, but we'll see."