Kickers are people, too. And like all humans, their emotions can get the better of them sometimes.
And as much as Lucas Havrisik tries to remain even-keeled during games, he couldn’t help getting swept up in the moment when the Arizona Wildcats finally returned to action last Saturday against USC.
“I was pretty excited to see us play in the first half, it’s been a while,” he said Tuesday, via Zoom. “Emotionally I was pretty intense and I was like, I’ve got to relax a little, save some of this energy for my kicks. I lost my voice in the first half cheering on the team.”
That early intensity may have contributed to Havrisik missing his first field goal attempt of the 2020 season, a 43-yarder early in the second quarter. It was the third consecutive miss for the senior, who was 0 for 2 on field goals in Arizona’s 2019 finale at ASU and went 10 of 17 last year.
But instead of getting down on himself, and thinking that all the work he’d done during the extra-long offseason was for naught, Havrisik instead refocused and went on to hit his next three attempts. That included a 51-yarder midway through the fourth quarter that gave the UA its first lead at 23-20.
“Obviously I didn’t want to miss a field goal, especially the first one,” Havrisik said. “I was disappointed, but I was just that much more excited to get another opportunity so I can prove what I can do for this team. My mentality is, I miss a kick it’s just the next kick I get, next opportunity to take advantage of it.”
It was the first time that Havrisik made three field goals in a college game. He now has 22 for his career while making 94.1 percent of his extra-point attempts and getting touchbacks on 75.4 percent of his kickoffs.
Distance has never been an issue for Havrisik, something he says coaches have been reminding him of since he started kicking in high school. For him it’s always been about keeping a consistent form and not thinking too much about what, in his mind, is the same process every single time.
“It’s just hitting the same ball every time,” he said. “PAT you kick the same as a 55-yarder. Commentators say ‘that’s a chip shot,’ I take every field goal the same way, same form and everything. Finishing through the ball, finishing downfield, not looking up too quick. When you overthink you probably lack confidence or doubt yourself.”
This week’s game against the Washington Huskies may present a unique challenge for Havrisik, especially if it’s played in typical Seattle weather. He said he doesn’t have much experience kicking in the rain, but during the week he’ll practice on balls that have been soaked to get a better feel for their heaviness.
“When the ball is pretty heavy it’s a little different to kick,” he said, adding that he’ll determine before the game how much the elements may impact his range. “Warmup will give you the best feel of the game. I remember my sophomore year, at Oregon State, it was a little rainy before the game and I told them this was my max distance for field goals.”