Nugent looks like can't-miss prospect

Discussion in 'Draft Zone' started by WoodysGirl, Feb 25, 2005.

  1. WoodysGirl

    WoodysGirl U.N.I.T.Y Staff Member

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    Cool under pressure
    Nugent's ready for the NFL's mental game
    By Mike Wilkening (
    Feb. 25, 2005

    INDIANAPOLIS — The question was posed to Ohio State's All-America PK Mike Nugent, and it was a good one: About how long do you dwell upon your misses?
    “I’d say probably about 10-15 seconds,” Nugent said. “When I do miss a field goal, I’ll stand there and think about ‘What did I do wrong’ and what I can do on the next one just to make sure that doesn’t happen again. … But I don’t think, ‘Oh my gosh, what happened? I missed.’ ”

    Translated into body language, that’s one, big, shrug.

    It’s this mentality that helps make Nugent so attractive to NFL teams. There’s also the fact he doesn't make many mistakes.

    Nugent strung together three seasons of clutch kick after clutch kick for one of college football’s most storied programs. As a sophomore in 2002, he hit 24 field goals in a row for the eventual national champions. The following season, he hit 16-of-19 field goals, including 6-of-7 from 40 yards and beyond. As a senior, Nugent capped his career by hitting 20-of-23 field goals — five from 50 yards or more — and capturing the Lou Groza Award as the nation’s finest kicker.

    “If I can say anybody that’s here at (this) place has ice in his veins, it’s Nugent for sure,” said Tennessee P Dustin Colquitt, himself a highly regarded pro prospect.

    Nugent is so skilled, he often makes it look easy. This season, in the waning moments vs. Marshall, he nailed a game-winning 55-yarder — read that again — that had plenty of distance to spare. No wonder some kicker-needy team is expected to draft Nugent on the draft’s first day.

    He wasn’t always so accurate. Nugent missed half of his 14 FG attempts as a freshman, as well as two extra-point attempts. He struggled to stay focused, a problem not a few first-year OSU players have experienced when taking in the scene at Ohio Stadium.

    “I (was) kind of worried about too many situations — how many people were watching and things like that,” Nugent said. “And then, I just kind of got more experience as I moved on to my sophomore year and realized that nothing else is going to be a factor. It’s just me. I decide if the ball goes through.”

    That decision made, Nugent went to work on the approach he needed to thrive. With a strong leg, he rarely needs to swing his leg with any extra force than he normally would. As a result, his form is consistent, he said.

    “I’m going to kick the same exact ball from 55 yards that I would for an extra point,” he said.

    Now his focus turns to getting acclimated to the hurdles the NFL sets up for its kickers. There’s the K-ball, the rock of a pigskin used on field goals and kickoffs. He also has to adjust to using a one-inch tee on kickoffs as opposed to the two-inch collegiate tee. Also, he’ll be kicking off from his 30-yard-line, not the 35.

    The transition for star college kicker to NFL rookie kicker can be harrowing, one some coaches aren’t willing to put up with. Now, Nugent is likely to get more opportunities to prove his worth than other kickers, for he will be the rare kicker taken early in a draft. But the pressure will still be there to grow up fast.

    Odds are, he’ll pull it off. He most certainly has the talent. He has kicked in Big Ten weather. And he has been smart enough to seek the counsel of veteran kickers like the Rams’ Jeff Wilkins, who have advised him to get the stars out of his eyes quickly.

    Then there’s the matter of him winning over his veteran teammates. All it takes for a rookie kicker, said Seahawks special-teams coach Bob Casullo, are a couple of upright-splitting kicks when the chips are down.

    “If you’re successful, if you start making a kick here, making a kick there, maybe win a preseason game, all of a sudden, you start gaining the confidence of all the players and coaches,” he said. “That’s how you earn your respect right there.”

    Easier said than done. Though this looks like a rookie who's up to the task.

    All this success has given Nugent just a hint of a healthy swagger, something he’ll need to do his job well. When a reporter asked him if he knew that about one quarter of the league’s games finish within three points or less, Nugent came up with this nugget:

    “So hopefully we can keep that up, definitely.”

    Cliffhangers are good in his line of work. Expect him to author his share of happy endings in the years to come.
  2. k19

    k19 Active Member

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    I like Nugent and would love to see us draft him but I have a feeling he'll go day one
  3. lkelly

    lkelly Well-Known Member

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    I'd vomit if Dallas drafted a kicker in round 1-4. There's too much uncertainty, and usually plenty of veteran NFL kickers available for work. I'd focus on improving my team so that a 10% difference in FG percentage from 40 yards and out didn't decide many of my games. Score in the red zone and play good defense and a kicker can become an afterthought. I understand that the Pats won Super Bowls because of their kicker, but plenty of teams have won Super Bowls with only average players at the position. I'm still laughing at Janikowski being drafted in the first round. Think the Raiders would trade Sebastian for Chad Pennington or Shawn Alexander? Those were the two players picked right after him.
  4. DaBoyz73

    DaBoyz73 Member

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    Like who?
  5. ghst187

    ghst187 Well-Known Member

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    but would the Pats trade Vinateri for ANYONE?
    A lesser kicker and the Pats might only have one SB...or even none.
    Nugent is the best kicker to come out in a while. Kaeding was good last year but Nugent is better than him. We need a kicker.. its not an exciting position to draft but I wouldn't complain if we filled a lot of holes via FA and drafted well in the first round. Nugent would be $$$$ in Dallas.

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