Rothe not fazed by early misses
LARAMIE – If Cooper Rothe is bothered by his slow start this season, he certainly isn’t showing it.
Laid back as ever, the senior walked into the media room bright
eyed and flashing a smile. He just left a meeting with the head coach, too.
That’s not always a good thing, especially when you have
missed three kicks over the past two games.
“I just had lunch with coach (Craig) Bohl,” Rothe said with a grin. “He just tole me to trust that if I hit a good ball into the wind it will go.”
Rothe isn’t used to missing. Not from long distance or
short. It just doesn’t happen. During his junior campaign, Rothe drilled
16-of-17 field-goal attempts and was perfect on extra points. He was named a
finalist for the Lou Groza Award. That honor is given to the nation’s best
In the preseason, Rothe was named the Mountain West Special
Teams Player of the Year.
Those accolades come with expectations. Rothe said he puts
enough pressure on himself without worrying about the noise on the outside.
“I expect to be perfect,” he said. “It’s a good goal to
have. People should expect me to make it. My teammates expect me to do my job
and I expect the same from them.”
Two weeks ago in San Marcos, Texas, Rothe sailed a 43-yard kick wide left. That was a rarity. In a 21-16 home win over Idaho last Saturday, the senior hammered kicks of 46-and-49 yards in the first quarter. Wide left again. On Both.
"The first one was rushed, and the second one, he didn’t feel like he hit it well," Bohl said following the game. "He had a little bit of wind (in his face). We will run him out there again, I know that. He’ll learn from this."
Kickers can be fragile creatures. Rothe doesn’t shy away from that moniker.
When asked if he is eager to get back out there or if the misses get him thinking he doesn’t want to trot out again, he was refreshingly honest.
“A little bit of both,” he said. “Make or miss, my teammates
and coaches still believe in me. Knowing what I’m capable of, I’m getting ready
to bounce back. I just need to forget about past and move on. Even if I have a
career day, the most important one is the next one. I’m keeping that mentality.”
Rothe has connected on 6-of-9 kicks so far this season. He
nailed a long of 47 in Texas. But even that one came with a little drama.
After the kick went through, the officials huddled, and the
play went under review. That was a first for Rothe.
“I didn’t even watch the kick go through,” he admitted. “I
knew it was good the second it left my foot.”
Turns out, he was right, though in-stadium replays appeared
to show the ball sail – you guessed it – wide left.
“You’d think the crowd would’ve been going crazy if it didn’t
go in,” Rothe said. “Coach Bohl didn’t even know they were allowed (to review
Those lunch dates with the head coach, who is also his
position coach, serve as daily confidence reminders.
Bohl likes to say Rothe is “money in the bank.”
Rothe wants to live up to those lofty expectations.
“He tells me to keep trusting my swing,” Rothe said of Bohl.
“Every kick has been to the left and I’ve had to deal with a little wind. He
just says to stay the course, trust the swing.
“I just need to have short-term memory and be cowboy tough
like coach Bohl says. I need to just forget it, move on, and the rest will
figure itself out.”