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bsn BSN: CU Buffs kicker Chris Graham never stopped competing for starting job

Discussion in 'CU Buffs Newsroom' started by RSSBot, Sep 21, 2016.

  1. RSSBot

    RSSBot News Junkie

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    BOULDER – There has been a lot of next man up recently for the Colorado Buffaloes. Another spot where that motto applies, kicker. Starter Diego Gonzalez will miss the remainder of the season with a torn Achilles in his kicking leg, meaning Chris Graham is likely the next man up.

    Although he hasn’t been named the starter just yet Graham has by far the most experience and had clearly been the backup for Gonzalez. Joining Graham in the competition to replace Gonzalez is Davis Price. The Buffs actually have one more kicker on their roster in Nick Porter but starting punter Alex Kinney when recruited was thought to be an option as a kicker as well.

    “It’s really disappointing, the next guys gotta step up and go,” coach Mike MacIntyre said, “Y’all seen what Diego has been doing. We’ll have a kicking contest all week to see who will kick field goals, extra points, kickoffs and we’ll decide on that on Friday.”

    MacIntyre told the media the competition is between Graham and Price. However, one might not take all of Gonzalez’ roles.

    “If on of them dominates in both areas or vice vera we could switch it up, we’ll see hot it goes this week,” MacIntyre said.

    See, last year Graham was the kickoff taker while Gonzalez was the field goal kicker. That is a possibility for this season as well. The ever-improved Gonzalez really didn’t have any competition for the job this year as his strides vastly out lengthened Graham’s. This could even be seen in the few games Graham got into, whereas last year each kicker had their struggles.

    “We always handled every kick like a competition,” Graham said. “We figured Diego would be the starter coming into the year, but we handled every kick like a competition. We never let each other feel complacent almost. We always want to one up each other all five of us do.”

    In a way, Graham is elated that he once again has a chance to be a kicker at CU, in a way he’s also somber.

    “That’s amazing that I get that opportunity,” he noted. “But the way it comes about, he’s one my best friends here we hang out every day, almost every minute, we talk about every kick. He’s still goning to be around which is nice but I’m sorry to see his season end like that but I’m definitely excited for the opportunity.”

    That camaraderie could factor huge when Graham stands over a big kick. Knowing he has the experience of a kicker who started for more than a year and has faced highs-and-lows at his disposal could be a huge factor to Graham potentially winning the job over Price and succeeding this season.

    And as the kicker’s legs go so do the Buffs. Not entirely Gonzalez’ fault but some of his misses last year cost the Buffs wins. A huge factor to CU’s potential rise this season was a confident kicker, who border on elite for a college athlete. Can Graham be that? He hasn’t been close in limited action.

    His failures can not be breezed over by any means. He is zero-for-one on the year in attempting field goals and has struggled to force touchbacks on his kicks over the course of his career. He, nevertheless, is not worried.

    “Definitely worked a ton in the offseason on staying more upright allowing my hips to get through the ball and getting more distance,” the redshirt junior kicker said. “I didn’t feel like I had a great year kicking off last year, I felt like I could have a few more touchbacks last year.”

    Price, a true freshman from Evergreen was a recruited walk-on this summer. The six-foot-two, 190-pound youngster isn’t expected to win the job over Graham, who, “feels much better and more confident with kickoffs and field goals.”

    Jake Shapiro
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    skibum Peed in your Cheerios. Club Member

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