Bosher’s misses not a concern for No. 22 Miami

By TIM REYNOLDS
AP Sports Writer

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — His numbers not withstanding, Miami kicker Matt Bosher has no crisis of confidence.

Bosher has already missed two extra points this season, plus caromed another in off an upright, and is merely 7 for 10 on field-goal tries. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it represents an almost stunning reversal of form for Bosher, who missed a total of four field goals and was a perfect 90 for 90 on extra-points coming into his senior year.

That being said, if No. 22 Miami (5-2, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) finds itself going down to the wire on its trip to Virginia (3-4, 0-3) on Saturday, Bosher insists he’ll be ready.

“I’m good to go,” Bosher said. “This stuff just happens. You take it in stride and it’s part of the game. I think that’s the mark of somebody who can do well in their job, someone who can take care of adverse situations and bounce back. I hope I can come back and I’m confident in my skill. I’ll be fine. I’m ready to go.”

Bosher missed an extra point against Clemson, then pushed another point-after try wide in last week’s win over North Carolina. He hit a 51-yard field goal against Ohio State, but missed two others later in that loss, then was kicking himself after a 32-yard miss — typically an automatic distance for him — in the early moments of what became a blowout defeat to archrival Florida State.

Of the 125 kickers in the nation with no more than 27 point-after tries this season, only 12 have more than one miss. And the Hurricanes find it surprising that Bosher, who was Miami’s MVP as a sophomore and is one of the more respected players in the locker room, is on that list.

“He’s pulling his foot,” Miami coach Randy Shannon said.

Sounds simple, but it’s not. It’s almost the equivalent of a batting slump in baseball. No one really knows why it happens.

Shannon spent about a minute in the team’s meeting room demonstrating the technique issues hurting Bosher these days, both placekicking and punting. He shanked two punts against North Carolina, but the issue wasn’t his leg, instead the way he was dropping the ball toward his foot, Shannon said.

All correctable errors, but still uncharacteristic for one of the nation’s best.

“It’s not the norm,” Shannon said. “We’ve been evaluating it all. We don’t kick as much in practice now as we did in the beginning of the season. Maybe three or four field goals here and there, but not really a lot of kicking. We’ve got to preserve his leg.”

With good reason. When Miami sends a kicking team on the field, Bosher is getting the call.

He’s the placekicker. He’s the punter. He handles kickoffs. Add them all up, and he’s been called into action 110 times already this season.

Leg fatigue is a concern of Shannon’s. Bosher shrugs it off, saying that would only be an excuse.

“In a perfect world, I’d be doing all three jobs, and I enjoy doing all three. It’s what I’ve done since I was in high school and I love doing it at the University of Miami,” Bosher said. “It allows me to do everything and anything I can for this team. My leg feels fine. We’re in shape and strong and that really translates to being able to last throughout a season.”

It doesn’t seem as though fatigue is an issue. Bosher is averaging a career-best 44.1 yards per punt, ranking 24th nationally. And although NFL jobs are tough to come by for kickers, scouts that have passed through Miami insist Bosher will have a strong shot of getting to play on Sundays after his college days end.

For now, all that is pushed aside. Bosher doesn’t like letting his mind wander to the reality that his college career is winding down. Instead, he just thinks about that next kick, and hopes it moves Miami closer to finally winning its first ACC title.

“It hasn’t really hit me 100 percent yet,” Bosher said. “I’m sure when it’s senior day and my parents and girlfriend are on the field with me, it’s going to really hit me. It’s something that’s there, but I can’t focus too much on it yet.”

Received 10/29/10 04:46 am ET