UMass kicker Brendon Levengood trying to put 2011 behind him http://w w w .masslive.com/umassfootball/index.ssf/2012/08/umass_kicker_brandon_levengood.html
August 10, 2012
Thom Kendall/UMass Athletics AMHERST — Brendon Levengood knows how quickly it can all slip away. Kicking is a delicate art, and the University of Massachusetts redshirt junior knows that all too well after he lost his job as the team’s placekicker a little more than halfway through the 2011 season. Entering the Minutemen’s game against New Hampshire on Oct. 22, Levengood was 5-for-7 on field goals. He’d had two extra points blocked and missed another in the team’s first six contests. But on the day of the Colonial Clash at Gillette Stadium, it all went awry. He missed his first extra point attempt in the waning seconds of the first half. Then, he missed another early in the fourth quarter. “I got in a game and I was just pulling my head up a little bit, and my leg swing was coming across my body to the left, and I just pulled my extra points — two of them — left,” Levengood said. “That was the end of it.” That, indeed, was the end of it. When the Minutemen attempted a field goal later in the fourth quarter, it was Brandon Yelovich who converted it. The second missed extra point at Gillette was the last place kick of the season for Levengood. He watched Yelovich convert all of his extra points. He also watched Yelovich go 3-for-7 on field goals, missing twice against both Richmond and Maine.
Brendon Levengood wants to put a rocky 2011 behind him.
“Obviously I want to be out there, so it hurt a lot. I always dream of being out there,” Levengood said. “I was out there making kicks, and then it got a little inconsistent … the kicking position isn’t for an inconsistent person.” Levengood admitted that he continued to struggle in practice, and that’s why Yelovich continued to hold the job through the end of the season. Now, however, that episode is in the past, both for Levengood and the coaching staff. First-year coach Charley Molnar told his team when he arrived that they started with a clean slate. Perhaps no one appreciates that more than Levengood, who with the new staff can truly feel like 2011’s struggles are a forgotten memory rather than a present struggle. “I really had that mentality coming into spring ball, winter workouts, everything like that, really just working hard breaking down film, working with my personal kicking coaches,” Levengood said. “Coming into this season, I really feel like things are turning back around.”
During spring practice, he was the only kicker on the roster, but the Minutemen have added quite a few candidates to the mix in fall camp. “We needed to bring some guys in to add to our numbers and depth,” Special Teams Coordinator Roderick Plummer said. While some programs make special teams decisions strictly on the “eye test” and others strictly on accuracy numbers from practice, Plummer said the Minutemen don’t have a protocol in place. “There’s no cut and dry answer,” Plummer said. “A lot of things come into play.” For Levengood, the issues appear, for now at least, to be fixed. Levengood said he is consistently hitting midrange field goals and the all-important extra points. “I changed up my stance a little bit — really squared myself up to the uprights and just worked on my leg swing coming straight up and through toward the target,” he said. “The ball is going high and straight, and that’s what you really look for.” PAGEL OUT AGAIN While the rest of the team was in full pads Wednesday, projected starting quarterback Kellen Pagel was once again in a hat and shorts, but Molnar said he thinks Thursday might be a different story. Tomorrow I think we’ll have him do a little bit of throwing,” Molnar said after Wednesday’s practice. “We’re going to work him back slowly, but I think tomorrow will be his first day back in.” Pagel has not taken any snaps since camp began Aug. 3 because of an undisclosed injury. M OLNAR TO APPEAR ON PATRIOTS TELECAST THURSDAY The New England Patriots open their preseason schedule against the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night in Foxboro, and during halftime, the game’s telecast will feature in an interview with Charley Molnar. The game will be televised on Springfield’s NBC affiliate, WWLP.