Taggart says WKU kickers in ‘open competition’

Brad Stephens

WKU was plagued by kicking inconsistencies in 2010.

Casey Tinius, coming off a 14-for-19 field goal mark in 2009, converted just 6 of his 15 attempts last season.

As missed field goals tallied, so did losses for the Toppers, who finished 2-10.

Fifteen days before WKU’s 2011 season opener against Kentucky, Head Coach Willie Taggart told media before practice Wednesday that the kicking spot for this season is wide open.

“We need to find the guy that’s going to kick field goals and be consistent for us,” Taggart said. “We haven’t found that guy yet, but we’re going to find him.”

Tinius, now a senior, is competing with sophomores Monte Merrick and Kevin Carillo as well as freshman Jesse Roy.

Merrick, a former Bell County standout, was the only one of the three to see playing time in 2010. He hit his two field goal attempts, including one from 46 yards.

Taggart said he still felt Tinius, a Bowling Green High School alum, can get the job done provided he can retain the position.

“Casey kicked really good balls. They just didn’t go through the uprights,” Taggart said. “And we need some guys to kick it through the uprights. The year before last, Casey kicked the ball well and he needs to get back to doing that.”

Taggart said the Toppers “probably would’ve had a better record” a year ago had the kicking game been up to par.

“Football is about field position, and that position plays a lot into field position,” Taggart said. “We understood how important it is, we just didn’t expect for it to go the way that it did last year.”