UConn, Syracuse suddenly have kicker issues

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

One of the reasons I'm glad I'm not a football coach (other than the surety that I would fail at it) is because I wouldn't have to deal with kickers.

Think about it. You work so hard all week, your team fights all day on Saturday to get into position, and some guy you probably spent two minutes thinking about the entire season comes in and shanks a field goal attempt.

Hardly anyone is immune to kicker problems. Two Big East teams that had seemingly reliable options found that out last week.

Connecticut's Dave Teggart had been one of the league's more dependable kickers since assuming that job in the middle of last year. But against West Virginia on Saturday, he missed two of three attempts as the Huskies lost by four points. UConn is playing Rutgers this week, the same team it lost to last year in large part because of missed field goals, and ironically, the game that led to Teggart taking over.

Head coach Randy Edsall said he still has confidence in his kicker.

"It’s a technique thing," Edsall said today. "I know everybody never wants to hear all these execution and technique things but it’s just a matter of his execution. He’s proven that he can kick; that’s not the problem. For us, it’s sometimes what he is thinking but it’s also just going and doing the things that he can do.

"I haven’t lost confidence in him, but the thing about him is, he’s got to get back into that groove and do things repetitively and correct, all the time. That’s all it is, it’s rhythm. It is just like the golf swing."

Earlier this year in my Big East stock report, I had Syracuse kicker Ryan Lichtenstein leading the way for Big East special teams player of the year. The true freshman was that good, and he won the game against Northwestern with a last-second kick.

But against Akron this week, Lichtenstein got benched after missing a 39-yarder. He was replaced by Jake Smith. Syracuse coach Doug Marrone said he didn't like the way Lichtenstein warmed up for the game, and his problems carried over. Now there may be a competition for the job.

"Everyone has to hold up their job," Marrone said.