The life of a kicker can often be stressful and lonely. Alex Garoutte learned that the hard way last…
Though he had a generally solid first half of the season, Garoutte had a season defining game in ASU's 28-29 loss against UCLA where he missed all of his three attempts, two of them occurring in the last six minutes of the contest which began a five-game losing streak for the Sun Devils.
"You have to move on if something bad happens," Garoutte said of the 2011 season. "You have to learn from it and move forward. I'm a lot more mentally stronger than I was last year.
"If I can make it through that than I can make it through anything."
Fortunately for Garoutte he is now able to look back and learn from those mistakes and inconsistencies, while still maintaining his status as a starter. During fall camp he faced stiff competition with the arrival of two walk-on kickers, Jon Mora and Dillon Jackson. As fierce as that battle was for first team duties, Garoutte viewed the whole process as a constructive for all parties involved.
"Competition makes everyone better." Garoutte noted. "It is good for me, it is good for the team, and it is good for them [Mora, Jackson] as well. It makes the whole team better."
Garoutte will have a different short snapper this season, and one that he is very familiar with, as punter Josh Hubner has been tabbed for that role. Arizona State Special teams Coach Joe Lorig noted that Hubner was capable for the job and Garoutte coincided with the decision.
"He [Hubner] is really good at it." Garoutte stated. "It makes it a lot more comfortable for me having someone I trust snapping. We have been tinkering around with the situation between the holder and snapper and I think we have found something that is working real well.
"I think we are going to stick with (backup quarterback) Ryan [Woods] in at holder and Josh [Hubner] as the snapper."
Garoutte has been able to improve on his technique during the spring and fall camp, something that the kicker was not able to do throughout the 2011 campaign.
"I got to change little things like attacking the plant foot rather than the ball." Garoutte explained. "Minor things I wanted to fix but did not have time during season, so offseason I got to work a lot and make some good changes."
The 2012 season for Arizona State football is about renewal and rejuvenation; something Garoutte can partake in as well. Garoutte wants to do more than prove himself and make up for past mistakes; he wants to win a very prestigious award, and an honor that was presented in 2007 to Arizona State's Thomas Weber in his first season with the Sun Devils.
"Groza." Garoutte simply stated. "I want the win the Lou Groza.
"I'm excited for the year to change everyone's opinion"