December 9, 2009

Blair's redemption

Kicker Scott Blair was instrumental to Tech's first outright ACC Championship since 1990. He hit all of his field goal attempts, an ACC Championship Game record four for four against Clemson. Blair was in the zone, at one point making back to back career long kicks from 48 and 49 yards respectively. He was also prepared to try a second game winning field goal attempt against Clemson this season, but it was unnecessary after Jonathan Dwyer broke a 15 yard run for the go ahead touchdown with 1:20 remaining on the clock.

Blair talked about his state of mind entering the game by saying, "I used the game before as motivation. I missed a key kick against Georgia which could have helped us out at the end of the game. I didn't want that to happen again in the ACC Championship Game. I was pretty well focused on every kick and I was ready to kick the field goal at the end to try and give us the win."

The junior had a rough start to the season after going 6 of 10 through the first four games, including missing his only attempt from 40 plus yards. Blair struggled from the longer distances in his first year starting as a sophomore and was zero for six last season in that category. Things looked to be headed down that same path and the Jackets wouldn't attempt a field goal for the next three consecutive games.

Blair talked about areas that he was looking to improve on entering this season and looking forward to next year. He replied, "Consistency. I worked a lot in the off season on 40 yard field goals and longer. I'm going to work on my consistency by keeping my form correct and just having a good overall season next year."

His diligence during the off season would pay off as he finished the season strong by making eight of his nine tries over the final six games. Blair made his first career kick of 40 yards or longer against Wake Forest and he wouldn't look back, going a perfect five for five from that distance ever since.

He has the leg strength and accuracy to lead the league in field goal percentage, which he will aim for next season. Blair talked about some of his strengths and kicking preferences by remarking, "The right hash is supposed to be a weaker side for right footed kickers, but I've always worked a lot on the right hash in order to balance everything out so that I don't have a weak spot on the field." When asked about his range he replied, "With a gale force wind one time, I hit from 70. In a dome with no wind I have hit from 58."

First things first, Blair will look to finish the season on a high note as Tech travels to the Orange Bowl for the first time since 1967 where they will square off against Big 10 opponent, Iowa. He will need to continue building on positive momentum from the ACC Championship Game, especially in a game where points could be tough to come by against the stingy Hawkeye defense.

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