SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Sports) - Football fans usually don't concern themselves with the kicker until the game rests completely on their shoulders, or feet. Utes kicker Coleman Petersen knows all about pressure situations, and has been working hard in training camp on becoming more consistent.
"I'm definitely feeling a lot more comfortable this week," said Petersen, who made 18 of 25 field goal attempts last year. "The first week of camp there was a lot of kicking and my leg was pretty dead for while. Now, I'm definitely getting a lot more power into it."
Petersen knows the ups and downs of life as a kicker. He made the game-winning field goal in a driving snowstorm at Washington State, but he also missed three field goals in a 17-14 loss to Colorado in the regular season finale. A victory would have sent Utah to the Pac-12 championship game, and Petersen has had to live with that anguish the entire off-season.
"You definitely have to forget about stuff, but at the same time you have to learn from it," said the former Brighton High star. "There were definitely mistakes I made in that game, but I've been working all spring and all summer on fixing those things."
"Coleman is a proven commodity in pressure situations," said head coach Kyle Whittingham, who has also expressed dissatisfaction with the kicking game during training camp. "He didn't make them all, but I thought he did a good job for his first year of kicking."
So how do you simulate game-like pressure situations in practice? Well, at the end of practice both Petersen and Nick Marsh have to make kicks that notably affect their teammates.
"There's nothing like peer pressure," said Whittingham. "A lot of the kicks we do will determine if we're going to run or not, so that's a pressurized situation."
"It's kind of weird," said Petersen. "I almost feel more pressure during practice than I do during games. I have the coaches about three feet from me rather than on the sidelines."