October 31, 2008

Weber working to move past recent struggles

Kicker Thomas Weber has been thinking too much.

The reigning Lou Groza Award winner has already quadrupled his missed field goal total from 2007, and almost inexplicably missed an extra point attempt last weekend against Oregon.

But Weber hasn't lost his confidence. He still knows he is a great kicker.

In his mind, all he needs to do to get back on track is go out onto the field with a clear head and just do what he always does.

Weber has even given himself a four-word mantra he is trying to go by this weekend: "don't think, just kick."

"I've been going out there just worrying about too many things and not just kicking," Weber said. "I really can't pinpoint any one thing that is different [from 2007]. I'm really just trying to get back into form where it's effortless to make kicks."

To take some pressure off of Weber, coach Dennis Erickson will, for the second week in a row, have Trevor Hankins handle the punting duties.

A small part of Weber wishes he was still the one out there punting, but he thinks Erickson's reasoning is sound and that it will help him focus better on field goals.

Also, Weber has full confidence in the man replacing him.

"Trevor is going to do a great job," Weber said. "He'll get some great hang time and people will see why he is the starter.

"Plus, it will give me a chance to just focus on kicking."

Many have speculated that Weber's recent field goal woes could be because of a new long snapper and holder, or because he has had trouble dealing with the added pressure of being the best kicker in the nation last season.

But Weber said neither has bothered him at all.

Long snapper Thomas Ohmart and holder Danny Sullivan have done a great job in Weber's mind and any kinks between the three of them were worked out months ago over the summer.

And as far as the high expectations, Weber knew they were coming.

He knew the fans would want another season with 96-percent accuracy.

But in his mind, those expectations aren't necessarily a bad thing.

"Those expectations just mean I had a good year last year," he said. "If you don't want those expectations then don't do well."

Williams out

Wide receiver Kyle Williams did not pass his concussion test and will not travel with the team to Oregon State.

Williams suffered a concussion against Oregon last Saturday and has not practiced since.

Wide receiver Nate Kimbrough will replace Williams on punt returns and cornerback Omar Bolden will be the primary kickoff returner.

Brooks too

It appears that defensive end James Brooks (ankle) will not play this weekend as he did not practice for the third consecutive day Thursday.

Once again, Paul 'Unga was in Brooks' spot with the second team.


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