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ASU Football: Kicking and Screaming! What to Make of the Field Goal Situation

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ASU Football: Kicking and Screaming! What to Make of the Field Goal Situation
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Most fans would say that the quarterback is the most important position on a football team. In the valley of the sun, knowledgeable fans would beg to differ.

Although with solid, consistent quarterback play, a team can achieve tremendous success with one man’s ability and skill set. However, in this part of the country, especially within the fan base of Arizona, supporters know how important a clutch kicker really is.

As a Sun Devil fan, one would need at least three hands to count how many botched late-game efforts went awry, due to lackluster results in the special teams game.

And to think, maroon and gold fans were holding their breath with a Lou Groza award-winning kicker at the helm.

As for the other half of the state, Wildcat fans know how crucial one single extra-point can be, not to mention pulling the same gaffe again in overtime versus your bitter rival.

An offense or defense can only do so much to lead their team to victory, but more often than not, with the game in the balance a team’s kicker decides their fate.

With Tom Weber awaiting a phone call from an NFL franchise, his Sun Devil teammates have aspirations of winning the Pac-12 Championship and appearing in a Bowl Championship Series game.

Yet with Weber’s departure, ASU has one glaring flaw: a brand spankin’ new kicker. 

Alex Garoutte, is a redshirt freshman from Phoenix’s Brophy College Preparatory. As a senior, Garoutte was named first team All-State by the Arizona Republic after splitting the uprights on 15-of-21 field goal attempts with a long of 54 yards.  Of Garoutte’s six missed field goal attempts, five were kicked from beyond 50 yards.

Perhaps even more impressive, Garoutte also led the Brophy Broncos in tackles (70) as a strong safety. Just like many other Erickson recruits, Garoutte is multi-talented. 

Sure, having a tough, physical football team, including the kicker, is great eye candy, but building a tough football team, mentally, is far more lucrative, though. 

After last season saw Erickson’s squad lose four-games by nine total points, a big-game kicker could be the difference between making or missing a bowl game. 

Throughout Weber’s career, he was a feast or famine performer because of groin and leg injuries. However, "T-Web's" legacy will always be remembered with his last hurrah versus Arizona. Drilling five kicks, and converting on each and every, extra-point proved to be crucial for the Sun Devils, and a major catalyst for this upcoming season. 

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
After three seasons of losing the close games, Erickson's Sun Devils look to take ownership of single-digit contests.

Now with 18 returning starters for the Sun Devils, the most neglected and undervalued position on a football team might be ASU’s most pivotal. 

Every point a kicker adds to the scoreboard builds momentum, even to the slightest degree. With Arizona State possessing the conference's top-rated defense, field goals might not be a bad option, especially compared to costly turnovers that hindered success in 2010.

It is certainly easy to predict an “easy three-points,” but that is, clearly, easier said than done. 

Erickson would like to believe that Garoutte is automatic, but that has yet to be proved. Thus far in practice, Weber’s incumbent has struggled.

On the bright side, it is only March and Brock Osweiler and the ASU offense looks impressive. However, at some point, Garoutte will have to step up to the plate and kick the Sun Devils to victory.  

With all of the experience in maroon and gold next fall, the Sun Devil’s kicker will have to earn his stripes quickly.

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