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October 21, 2008

Texas Tech contest winner may kick this week

Aaron Dickens
Rivals.com College Football
Managing Editor
Texas Tech's situation at place-kicker has evolved from a concern to a source of frustration. 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-goal attempts - the sixth-ranked Red Raiders are now seriously considering giving Matt Williams a shot against No. 18 Kansas this weekend.

Williams is a Tarleton State transfer student who won a month of free 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," Williams told 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. However, according to McGuire - who heads up the Red Raiders' special teams unit, Williams 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 such 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."

A 2007 Texas Tech grad, Aaron Dickens covers his alma mater's athletic programs exclusively on RedRaiderSports.com. This season will be his fifth covering the Red Raiders.
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