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Monday, August 10, 2009

PK Byrum hoping to regain form

I wrote a feature story on place-kicker Wes Byrum for Tuesday's newspaper. Here's how it starts:

AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn’s players crowded in from the sidelines, making noise, hopping around, basically doing everything they could to rattle place-kicker Wes Byrum’s nerves.

Unfazed, the junior calmly split the uprights from 45 yards out, capping a perfect session of field goals at the beginning of Sunday’s practice.

Although only practice, the results are a far cry from a disappointing sophomore campaign, during which Byrum struggled with his mechanics and battled his psyche, making only 11 of 19 field goal attempts. He missed seven times from 30 yards or more for the season, misfiring on a field goal and an extra point in a 17-13 loss to Georgia before an injury kept him out of the Iron Bowl.

The confident freshman who took down Florida with a 43-yarder as time expired in 2007, famously celebrating by running down the sideline and doing the Gator chomp, was long gone.

“I was hitting well before I went in; I just kind of got in a funk when the season started,” Byrum said of last year. “But this season, I worked really hard all summer. I’m kicking well now, so hopefully it will just keep going.”

Read the rest here. And while you're at it, follow me on Twitter to get immediate updates when blog posts or stories are ready.

Byrum looked good kicking the ball Sunday, but his mechanical issues aren't completely solved. Despite working on keeping his body more upright when he kicks, with his chest out. Check a picture of Byrum early this August (unfortunately, we haven't been sent any by Auburn sports information yet) and he's still bending over quite a bit like the picture at the top of this post (he made that kick, by the way).

Look at these photos from his game-winning kick against the Gators two years ago. It's not the exact same moment in the follow through, and I'm hardly a kicking expert, but it seems like he's not as hunched over. Plus, he has his left arm extended in front of him, not pulled over his body like the photo at the top of the post from last year, which Byrum said closed him off.

The other thing to remember is that Byrum said he felt fine in practices last year, struggling only once he got into the game. If that's the case, it's impossible to draw any conclusions in the preseason. Auburn will only know if Byrum is a guy it can depend on once the games start, which is an unsettling prospect.


Anonymous said...

Your the best!! Keep it up! Thanks.

Anonymous said...

This is one of the best AU football blogs on the internet. Between Goldberg, Tate and Bitter you should never be paying for your Auburn football information.

Anonymous said...

I will tell you Byrum is Kicking lights out. He will be all SEC