Bend It Like, O'hara? Walk On May Be Answer To Sooner Kicking Woes
At the start of the football season, the Sooners had many questions. One being place kicking. Even after last years record setting performance it was clear, someone had to step up in that department.
Going into the year, it was a foregone conclusion that Sophomore kicker Jimmy Stevens would work out the few kink's of last years performance. Going 8-12 is ok, but under Bob Stoops, it will not fly for long.
Jimmy has yet to make said move. He is still erratic at best.
So for most of this season, Oklahoma's place kicking duties have been up for grabs.
Tress Way, who has started to turn heads in the punting game, tried to fill that void. When given the chance, he has not shined.
Against Nebraska, Way was blocked twice in the first quarter on tries of 46 and 45 yards, then flat out missed one for 42 later in the third. In part costing the Sooners a win.
Many were content to watch Stoop's juggle the two until one of them finally siezed control and took over.
Others were looking to next year, to see what was coming down the pike on the recruiting trail.
Stoop's had something else in mind.
That something else?
Ex soccer player and walk-on, Patrick 'Patty' O'hara.
After Stevens missed an extra point against TAMU saturday night, and Tress badly shanked a try from 35, coach had seen enough.
Early in the third quarter, he walked up to the sophomore transfer and delivered the news,"Patty, warm up. You're in next."
And so with 7:31 left in the third, in front of 85,000 strong, O'hara stepped onto Owen field to try his first ever in-game field goal. It would be his first play all together as a football player.
The attempt was from 26 yards out.
The kick was solid, going straight through the pipes.
It would have been good from 46.
Not bad for a kid that was driving a forklift for Goodyear this time last year.
But for O'hara, kicking comes natural.
Since he was in kindergarten, Patrick has played soccer. Which has prepared him thoroughly for his new career. Thankfully for Sooner fans, in his junior year of high school, he burnt out on the sport.
After graduating and gettin a job in the real world, he enrolled at Washburn University in his home town of Topeka, KS. That's when his twin brother Steven talked him into trying place kicking out on the local high school field.
Patty took to it fast, on top of that he was good. Good enough, he thought, to put it on tape. So he did.
That tape landed in Norman.
The rest, they say, is history.
"It's an incredible experience", admitted O'hara. "It's pretty close to what you'd call a dream."
After a season plagued by injury and let downs, Sooner fans are looking for a silver lining.
If 'Patty' can show consistency, they may find it in the kicking game.
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