In 2009, junior placekicker Robert Randolph finished the season ranked No. 27 nationally in field goals per game (1.42) and was second in the ACC in accuracy (.895). He connected on 17 of 19 field goal attempts, missing the first one due to a mishandled snap in the rain. Fast forward one season, and after two games, Randolph is 0 for 3, which includes missed from 35, 45 and 50 yards. What has this meant?
There’s no doubt that many people have in the back of their minds that Virginia should have had a win against the USC Trojans last week but for a number of things. A blown call by the Pac 10 officials might be one factor, but a finger certainly might also be pointed at the two missed field goal attempts coming from 35 and 45 yards away.
"Look at the field goals and say one thing or another," head coach Mike London commented. But in the end you can’t pin it all on Randolph. London says that everyone contributed to the loss.
Still, London knows that this is an issue for a team that has been predicted to finish dead last in the ACC. He’s spent this past bye week focusing on the kicking game.
"It’s been very productive," London said. "Nothing can create a situation where the kicker has to kick in the stadium where people are screaming and yelling and things are on the line, but we try to do as much as we can."
Coach London says that, to emulate the in-game pressure, he’s had players screaming and yelling at the kickers in practice, and has folks running sprints for each missed kick.
"In practice this week, the guys responded, and they responded well. I know Robert is itching to get back in there and kicking some field goals."
Virginia fans will be able to see what improvement there’s been over the past two weeks when the Cavaliers take on VMI this Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in Charlottesville.