Tech replaces struggling Carona with walk-on

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

After watching freshman kicker Donnie Carona struggle in recent weeks, Texas Tech coach Mike Leach told the Dallas Morning News that he will replace Carona with senior walk-on Cory Fowler.

Leach told the DMN that Fowler will handle extra point attempts and short field goal attempts. Carona will continue to kick off and could still be used for longer field-goal attempts.

Carona, the first scholarship kicking recruit ever signed by Leach, has struggled throughout the season. He's missed four of his seven field goal attempts and converted only 33 of 37 extra points for the lowest conversion rate in the conference. He's also had five kicks blocked this season.

"Carona just needs to be more consistent, which one day he will be," Leach told DMN. "Carona kickoff-wise was one of the best in the conference."

It's not totally unexpected that Leach made the kicking change when he did. Several Red Raiders said Monday they were concerned with Carona's consistency after he missed an extra point in overtime in the Red Raiders' 37-31 victory over Nebraska last week. That miss could have been critical, although Texas Tech cornerback Jamar Wall wrapped up the victory on the enusing possession with a game-sealing conversion.

That was the Red Raiders' first close game of the season. It looks like Leach is trying to head off any potential special-teams problems before Saturday's game at Texas A&M.