Open Competition for Kicking Job?

A dejected John Goss walks off after missing in OT

"Either you toughen up and become a kicker and become more mentally tough or somebody else will kick and that's the way I approach it. Give me a guy that will kick it through and if it's a freshman, that's fine. -- Michigan State head coach John L. Smith.

EAST LANSING -- Michigan State head coach John L. Smith joked - or was he? - that he was going to bring in some students from campus in an open competition for the kicking job.

"I'll open it up, see if we can bring in some guys from campus [to] see if we can find a kicker", said Smith.

When asked if he was serious, "Why not?" laughed Smith. "We'll see. [Kyle] Mayer has a groin [injury] so he probably will not be able to kick all of this week. So there's a couple of young guys out there and the way it is now, you might see those young guys playing."

But then Smith laughed and admitted "I don't know their names, but they're there. One of them wears number #10."

Smith said he gave some tough love to wounded kicker John Goss who missed two chipshot field goals that cost Michigan State the game against Michigan. Smith said he didn't treat kickers any differently than any other football players and he wasn't worried about their psyches.

"Psychologically, I could care less," said Smith.

"Either you toughen up and become a kicker and become more mentally tough or somebody else will kick and that's the way I approach it. Give me a guy that will kick it through and if it's a freshman, that's fine."

"All the good ones we've had [at Michigan State], and there's several in the NFL, are tough guys that can kick, tough guys that will go out and compete and if they miss it they don't turn into a ....whatever<" said a clearly exasperated Smith. "They'll bounce back and go kick the next one."

When asked what he saw in Goss' body language, Smith said, "Aw dawg gone!" and then he barked, "Go compete!"

What about Mayer asking not to be put into the game due to his pulled groin?

Smith rolled his eyes, "the good ones want to go kick, they could care less. 'Coach, I know I can't make it from there, but put me in, I'll go do it.' It would be nice to hear that."

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