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After Near-Debacle at Texas, Mike Gundy Explains Why He Doesn’t Hang Around Kickers



When Matt Ammendola trotted out onto the turf of Jamail Field to kick the would-be go-ahead field goal in overtime, Mike Gundy couldn’t watch. The sophomore had already missed one from 29 yards.

“Honestly, I don’t watch anymore,” Gundy admitted. “I just watch our sideline.”

Gundy says it’s not a case of superstition and that there are plenty of coaches on the staff who know to watch for issues like blocking from the kicking team. He just can’t.

Based on the his own sideline’s reaction, Gundy learned that the Cowboys had taken the lead. And he was all-eyes the rest of the way, stating that he had a good angle of the game-sealing interception by senior safety Ramon Richards.

The issues with Oklahoma State’s kicking game are not new. It watched the program’s all-time leading scorer and eventual cold-blooded assassin, Ben Grogan, ride off into the sunset last offseason.

With Ammendola, they knew they had a leg. His first and only attempt in 2016 was a 53-yarder which tied for the fourth-longest in school history. But during spring practice, Gundy warned that while the sophomore was automatic from deep, there were consistency issues inside of 40 yards.

So far this year, Ammedola has proven his head coach to be right. On kicks under 40 yards, he is 8 of 12. Under 20 he is 1 of 3. But on kicks of 40 yards or more, Ammendola is 3 of 4 with makes from 48 and 53 yards.

After the Texas Tech game in which he bounced kicks of 18 and 22 yards off the right upright, Gundy said there was a “tweak” that they could make for Ammendola and that things should be fine.

An especially brash Mike Gundy said following the Texas win that he doesn’t hang around kickers at all.

“I don’t want kickers to ever start to affect my mental process, so I stay as far away from those guys as I can, because I’ve never understood them,” said Gundy. “I don’t know what makes ’em tick. He’s trying to make the field goal, okay? So once he misses a field goal like that, nobody feels worse than him.

“He doesn’t need a coach, doesn’t need me or anybody else chewing on him. I’m not saying you’re saying that. But he needs to say hey, look, here’s the deal: The game isn’t over. You may have to kick another one. That’s what we did the last game, or whenever he missed some of them, Texas Tech, I think.

“Until the time expires, we’ve got to keep him going because he may have to kick another one.”

I, for one, do not know what makes kickers tick either, and I don’t know if the issues on short kicks are mental or just a question of angles. You’d hope if it was a matter of procedure, those things would have already been addressed.

But Ammedola did go 2 for 3 on Saturday and did make both the game-tying and game-winning field goals in Austin — just like Ben Grogan did two years ago. Ammendola said he wanted a game-winner, and now he’s got one. Maybe that will take some pressure off of the sophomore moving forward.

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