With the graduation of Billy Vinnedge, Wyoming junior Jake Scott has taken over the Cowboys' kicking…
Scott Bounces Back with Solid Spring Game
But he didn't have to make the same mistakes again.
"Last week I was trying to kick it too hard, like I was trying to show off," said the junior place-kicker, who missed two extra-point attempts during the Cowboys' first spring scrimmage April 12. "This week I just went back to the basics."
It paid off on Saturday—even in the windy conditions of War Memorial Stadium, which were far less conducive to accurate kicking than the still air of Wyoming's indoor facility where the team has held most of its practices this spring. Scott went a perfect 6-of-6 in PATs in the Spring Game and 2-of-3 in field goals, connecting on tries from 23 and 40 yards, while missing one from 31 yards away.
"Jake did better today," said Wyoming head coach Joe Glenn after the game. "We needed him to show up today. My hat is off to Jake. It wasn't easy kicking today in this wind, and I thought he did a real nice job."
Scott said his Spring Game numbers should give him an advantage in the place-kicking battle going into the fall when he'll have to contend with freshman Austin McCoy for the starting job. He also said it was a relief to bounce back from the first scrimmage the week before, where Glenn said he was "disappointed" in Scott, calling his performance "(not) acceptable."
"I've still got kids to compete with next fall," Scott said, "but I've got a little bit of an edge just because I was here."
Scott entered spring drills at the top of the Cowboys' depth chart for both place-kicking and kickoff duties, and for the most part, he has been competing against himself. The only other place-kicker listed on Wyoming's depth chart is redshirt freshman Braden Shoop, who hasn't pushed Scott much this spring. Shoop missed his only field goal attempt on Saturday, a 37-yarder that flew wide right.
But despite sitting comfortably atop the depth chart, Scott had and up-and-down spring. Arguably his best performance came just one week before the first scrimmage, when he went 18-for-24 on field goal tries, including connecting on a 52-yarder that had height and distance to spare.
But his performance in the scrimmage raised doubts from Glenn about his ability to get the job done in game situations.
"He is letter-perfect in practice," Glenn said after the scrimmage. "He can make extra points until the cows come home in practice, but you have to be able to do it when the bullets are flying."
Scott assured reporters on Saturday that he can.
"I don't really feel that there's anything different (between kicking in practice and kicking in games," he said. "I felt that I came back to the basics and was just able to kick it and make sure that I hit it in."
With any luck, Scott said he'll be able to carry his accuracy from the Spring Game with him into next season.
"It was a pretty good day," he said. "It helped me gain momentum going into the fall."
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