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October 21, 2008

Situation at kicker gets crazier

Texas Tech's situation at placekicker has already gone from a concern to a source of frustration, and now it seems as if it has taken an unexpected, crazy twist. Having already gone through two kickers, who have combined to miss six PATs and half of their field goals, the sixth-ranked Red Raiders are now seriously considering giving Matt Williams a shot against No. 18 Kansas this weekend.

Williams, you may recall, is the Tarleton State transfer student who won a month's worth of rent at the Tech/UMass game several weeks ago by kicking a 30-yard field goal. After his successful try, Williams was walking back to his seat when he was flagged down.

"They relayed a message to me saying that Coach [Mike] Leach wanted to talk to me," explained Williams to RedRaiderSports.com the next day. "He told me to come into his office on Tuesday and talk to him, and then Coach [Clay] McGuire told me to come and speak with him on Monday."

Initially, it was thought that Williams was ineligible this season due to transfer rules but according to McGuire, who heads up the Red Raiders' special teams unit, he has been cleared to play.

"That is the way I understand it, yeah," confirmed McGuire on Tuesday. "He's got a real good shot. Only Mike Leach could bring a guy out of the stands and make it work."

This wouldn't be the first time that Tech has relied on a non-scholarship kicker, although not quite under these same unconventional circumstances.

"We have a tradition of walk-on kickers rising to the top," commented Leach after the UMass game. "[Robert] Treece and [Alex] Trlica both were walk-on kickers that eventually ended up getting to play significantly. We're always looking for guys. We're excited to see what [Williams]'s got to offer if he's interested."

What Williams offers, compared to Donnie Carona and Cory Fowler is something that is absolutely necessary for PATs: trajectory.

"I've seen that guy try one kick," added Leach. "But the difference between his and the others is that they barely got off the ground. His got up right away.


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