It would be easy to forgive Nick Ferrara if he thought there was a bizarre element to his career as a kicker at Maryland.
As a freshman, he enjoyed a strong debut with the Terrapins, connecting on 18 of 25 on field goals. Of course, Maryland also logged its first 10-loss season that fall.
Last year, the Terps rebounded to 9-4. But Ferrara contributed only on kickoffs, with a groin injury suffered in camp derailing his season.
Matching up individual and the team success, then, becomes the goal for 2011.
“‘Yeah, I guess you’re just a jinx,’” Ferrara said with a laugh as he recounted how friends jokingly assessed his first two seasons. “To be honest, an injury could happen to anyone. Last year was just unfortunate what happened to me in camp. I tried to get through it, and it kept getting worse and worse. I didn’t help myself.”
The entire year was a bit of a disappointment. After watching senior Travis Baltz hold onto the extra point and field goal duties all season, a new staff arrived in January. Soon, Ferrara found himself spending extra time on academics and typically participating in spring drills only on the weekend.
In the long term, it was productive. But Ferrara has no intention of spending too much time thinking about his sophomore slump.
“It feels like something that just never happened,” Ferrara said. “It’s actually great, because with my mindset, I could forget real quick. As a kicker, that’s what you have to have. If I dwell on last year, what’s that going to do for me this year?”
Ferrara said last weekend he’s kicking as well as he has at any point in his life. He believes he’s better, more consistent and has better height on his attempts now than he did during his solid freshman year.
Most importantly, his junior year begins Labor Day. Few in Maryland’s program seem to be looking forward to the opener against Miami and the fresh start it provides as much as Ferrara.
“I feel like [I’m on] cloud 1,000 right now,” Ferrara said.
—- Patrick Stevens