Kansas kickers seeking revival
After starting the season 4-for-4 on field-goal tries, the Kansas University field-goal kickers have missed their last four attempts, including three misses last Saturday in a 10-point loss to Texas Tech.
Despite the recent struggles, Matthew Wyman, who now also is listed as KU’s top punter, seems to have the experience and poise to power through it and said all he needed to do was go back to the fundamentals and get another chance.
It’s unknown whether the same can be said for sophomore Nick Bartolotta — KU’s short-field-goal kicker — who not only missed a field goal attempt last week but also an extra point.
“We’re not going to go grow another kicker or go find one. It’s not going to happen,” KU coach David Beaty said earlier this week as he began preparations for today’s 2:30 p.m. kickoff at No. 14 Oklahoma State. “We’ve got the two guys here we need, and our team believes in those guys, and those guys are going to come back and be productive for us. They’ve done it before. It’s just a matter of getting focused, concentrating and utilizing your technique.”
Added Wyman, who said misses by one guy often can lead to the struggles of another: “To be a good kicker, those (misses) have got to not be contagious. You’ve gotta be mentally strong and forget about it and bounce back.”
The Jayhawks (0-6 overall, 0-3 Big 12) are the only conference team that has yet to make a field goal in Big 12 play and one of just three conference teams to have missed an extra point. The Jayhawks are 4-of-6 on PATs in Big 12 play, while today’s opponent is 9-of-11. Texas Tech is the only other Big 12 team to miss a point-after try so far this season, and that came in its victory over Kansas when Daniel Wise blocked the PAT that followed Tech’s second touchdown.
Mazyck back on top
After playing in all 12 games and making nine starts as a junior, offensive tackle Larry Mazyck has started just two of KU’s first six games this season.
The reason for his absence is the strong play of freshman walk-on Larry Hughes, who started in Mazyck’s place at right tackle during the other four games.
This week, after returning to the starting lineup a week ago, against Texas Tech, Mazyck is back on top of the depth chart at the position and, according to Beaty, the reason is simple.
“Guys, we’re not down on Larry,” Beaty said. “We don’t dislike him. He just was getting beat out in practice. And this week Larry Hughes got beat out by Larry Mazyck. (Mazyck) got tired of it, and he found a way to get back on the field, which is creating that competition that we need. And it’s starting to take over.”
KU and Oklahoma State have played 65 times since 1923, with the Cowboys owning a 33-29-3 all-time advantage.
OSU has won five consecutive games in the series and KU’s lone victory in the last 11 match-ups came in 2007, when the Jayhawks prevailed, 43-28, at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater.
OSU and KU are tied, 14-14-2, all-time in games played at Oklahoma State’s home field.