LARAMIE (AP) — Coming off a season in which he was mentioned among the nation’s best at his position, this isn’t the start Cooper Rothe envisioned.
Rothe, Wyoming’s senior placekicker, is 8 of 12 on field goals through the Cowboys’ first five games. He drilled his only two attempts last week in Wyoming’s rout of UNLV, but he was wide on two extra points, which only added to his frustration given what he expects of himself.
“I’d say I definitely expected it to be different,” Rothe told the Casper Star-Tribune. “I had perfect expectations, but I knew adversity would come in one form or another.”
Rothe has already missed three more field goals than he did all of last season when he led the nation in field-goal percentage (94.1) and was one of three finalists for the Lou Groza award, which is given annually to the country’s top placekicker. And those two missed extra points are more than he had the previous two seasons combined (64 of 65).
Rothe at least knows why he’s misfired. His first three missed field goals were all pulled to the left after he ended up overcompensating for the elements, he said.
“Especially when I feel wind in my face, I think that I have to kick it harder,” Rothe said. “And usually when you try to kick it hard, you pull your hips through too much and it goes to the left. Just trusting my swing. I think we’ve been working every day to go out outside and kick in the wind rather than with the wind because usually that’s easier.”
The other miss was blocked against Idaho before Wyoming held on for a 21-16 win on Sept. 14.
So Wyoming coach Craig Bohl stopped short of putting it all on Rothe as he dismissed any notion that he’s concerned about his kicker’s inconsistent start to the season.
“I think Cooper is kicking the ball well, but there’s three facets in that,” Bohl said. “There’s the kicker, there’s the holder and there’s the snapper. We’ve got some work to do with those three elements.”
The veteran said it hasn’t shaken his confidence.
“I’ve kicked a lot of field goals and kicked a lot of extra points,” Rothe said. “I’m keeping everything positive.”