Goodman overcomes long odds, surgery
Aric Goodman faced long odds on the operating table, so he wasn't going to let a little pressure and some harsh words from his quarterback bother him.
Six months ago, surgeons told the University of Colorado's right-footed senior that he had only a 15 percent chance of ever kicking again following right hip surgery on a torn labrum.
Goodman defied the doctors' dire prognosis and returned to nail down the starting job for the third straight season. That's when his get-well wishes were replaced by get-better mandates.
Starting quarterback Tyler Hansen suggested Goodman had ''better step up'' because his teammates were tired of his inconsistency.
Goodman basically said he was, too.
Goodman made just 15 of 32 field goal attempts in his first two seasons in Boulder after transferring from Wyoming, where he was 10-for-16 in 2006 and is remembered for missing an extra point that cost the Cowboys a win at Virginia.
Enough is enough, said Hansen, who acknowledged getting on Goodman's case on the sideline after he missed a big kick against Nebraska last season.
''He'd better step up. We're tired of it. To drive down the field and you miss a kick, it's not good for the morale of the team and you kind of lose some confidence,'' Hansen said. ''... He'd better make some kicks or the team might go crazy on him.''
Goodman said the comments didn't bother him.
''It's not something I didn't already know. I've got to go out there and make kicks when I get a chance to and I know they're all behind me but I can't make mistakes when I get the opportunity to make something happen,'' Goodman said.
''Excuses aren't going to work anymore. My hip is fully healed. I'm ready to go. When I get an opportunity to get a field goal, I have to go out there and make it.''
Goodman did just that in Colorado's 24-3 win over Colorado State last weekend, making all three of his extra points and his only field goal attempt, from 28 yards, while also booting three kickoffs through the end zone.
That should go a long ways toward easing the concerns of his quarterback, who had said if Goodman starts off well, the Buffs will have confidence that he'll have a solid season.
In '08, Goodman kicked a 25-yard field goal in overtime to beat West Virginia and was awarded a scholarship after the game by coach Dan Hawkins. Then, he proceeded to miss his next eight kicks, setting a school futility record.
He hasn't normally missed by much: At Colorado, he's 12-of-16 inside 39 yards with three of those misses hitting the uprights. Beyond 40 yards, he's just 3-of-16 and has hit the uprights four times.
Close doesn't count for anything and certainly won't earn him much sympathy.
Hawkins said he foresees more pats of congratulation than encouraging - or disparaging - words this season.
''He has gone through the fire and he is growing up and matured and learned to handle all of the stresses that come with it,'' Hawkins said. ''Every great athlete, it doesn't matter what sport it is, sometimes you jump the tracks a little bit and mentally you have to work to get back in it. The great thing is that I think he has handled it all pretty well.
''We've had a bunch of guys in there trying to bump him out, and to his credit, he hasn't let them. He has always had an extremely strong leg, and he has always been pretty darn accurate. Even when he has missed, he hasn't missed by far.''
Goodman said not having to deal with pain has made a world of difference. Last year, he dealt with a torn groin that was a consequence of his torn labrum.
''It's just nice to get it all healed up and fixed and feel good every day,'' Goodman said.
Hawkins doesn't know how much of Goodman's problems last season can be pinned on his health.
''Then again, every little thing that's in your head is not good. Doesn't matter if you've got and ingrown toe or a bruised shoulder, particularly at that spot. Because so much of that is rhythm and timing and your stroke and there is so much mentally going into it that any little glitch in there affects you, it's hard to overcome that,'' Hawkins said.
''He's been a very solid kickoff guy, we've said it before. If the (opposing) offense has to take the ball and drive it 80 yards, that's hard.''
Goodman is confident he'll add accuracy to his repertoire this season.
''Yeah, if nothing else I just feel confident in the fact that it's not going to hurt,'' Goodman said. ''I think that's kind of a big thing going into each kick knowing that I'm going to go out there and come off the field without pain.''
And without an angry quarterback waiting on the sideline.