“I’d love it,” he said. “It would be great. I look forward to it. It’s an opportunity to succeed for me.”
The psychology of that statement is important for a kicker, who has plenty of time to visualize technique and even daydream of being the hero. It’s an opportunity to succeed, not an “Oh no, what if I fail” mentality.
Leigh Tiffin knows plenty about the highs and lows of kicking. He was an All-American on Alabama’s 2009 national championship team but had to overcome a miserable performance against Arkansas as a freshman.
He missed a 30-yarder in the fourth quarter, a 37-yarder in the first overtime and an extra point in the second in a 24-23 loss.
“Obviously it was a very psychologically damaging experience in the short term,” said Tiffin, who made 30 of 35 field goals as a senior. “In the long term it was probably the best thing that ever happened to me. It taught me how important it is to prepare well.”
Tiffin said the big-game electricity can work against kickers _ as has been demonstrated several times this season.
“If your nerves are high, it’s going to bring out the worst in people most times when you talk about this position,” he said. “It’s a lot like a marksman. Adrenaline is a friend of most players. A linebacker who’s got adrenaline pumping is going to be able to do even more in the game. It’s the enemy of the kicker.”
“At that point he seemed like a person who was going to be very, very motivated to make sure that didn’t ever happen again,” Tiffin said. “Things like that definitely don’t fade quickly. It’ll be a long time before he forgets about that. If anything, it’s a source of motivation.”
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