Hokies' Hazley has been good on 17 consecutive FGs
Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer doesn't give placekicker Chris Hazley many tips about his kicking technique. He leaves the kicking coach to guys that know what they're talking about, and talks to his redshirt senior instead about golf.
''Most of them have worked with someone, and what I tell them is keep it to one guy,'' Beamer, an avid golfer, said of kickers and their coaches. ''It's kind of like a golf swing. If you've got nine people helping you, you start hitting them that way and that way.''
Hazley hasn't had that problem.
The senior has made 17 consecutive field goals to tie the school record for the No. 14 Hokies, and the streak includes a booming 52-yarder that had plenty to spare last week.
The suggestion it had as much as 10 years to spare left him a little uncertain.
''I don't know about 10 yards, but that would be nice to think,'' he said. ''I felt like that could have been definitely from 55. I don't know much farther than that. I hit it well. I made good contact. I knew if I could get good contact on the ball, I have the range.''
The No. 14 Hokies would love to see him keep the streak going this weekend when they travel to No. 24 Miami (7-3, 5-2 ACC). A victory would make Virginia Tech (8-2, 6-0) the league's Coastal Division champs and earn them a spot in next months championship game.
Hazley shares the record of 17 straight with Chris Kinzer (1986) and Brandon Pace (2006), and shares the qualities that Beamer - the special teams coach - has come to appreciate.
''All of our kickers, the last four field goal guys, have all kind of been the same guy,'' Beamer said. ''They're kicking their senior year, they've been around a lot, they're all smart guys, they're all reliable guys, they're not flighty or flaky. That's not them. They're all pretty serious, serious about school work, serious about life and very mature.
''To me, that's the kind of kicker you want.''
Hazley is the fourth consecutive one-and-done placekicker for Beamer, and between Jud Dunlevy, Dustin Key, Matt Waldron and Hazley, they've made 81 of 96 field goal attempts.
Sometimes, it helps that past kickers have parents that are Hokies fans.
After Hazley missed a 34-yarder in the Hokies' season-opener against No. 3 Boise State, he spoke a few times with Dean Waldron, whose son Matt was 20-for-23 just last season.
''He gave me some pointers after the Boise State game that have really helped me out,'' Hazley said, noting he doesn't have a kicking coach otherwise. ''Other than that, no, not really. My dad, but it was more of a mental thing of keeping me focused and sticking to it.''
Beamer also appreciates that Hazley is honest about his own expectations.
''He's not an up and down kid,'' Beamer said. ''You say, 'Can you hit this thing?' If he says yes, then he's got a chance to hit it. I think he'd tell you if he thought it was a little too far or whatever. I trust him a lot. He's been good.''
In some games, he's accounted for the bulk of Virginia Tech's points.
Against Boston College earlier this season, when the Hokies managed only one touchdown, Hazley kicked field goals of 29, 45, 29 and 32 yards, finally allowing them to win 19-0.
He kicked four more last week in a 26-10 victory at North Carolina, including the 52-yarder. That kicked tied Jud Dunlevy's record for the Hokies in ACC play, set in 2007.
When Beamer asked what he thought, ''I said, Yeah, let's do it. Let's try it,''' he said.
The apparent ease with which it cleared the crossbar left him wondering.
''Fifty-five, maybe 57 - I would definitely want to try that,'' he said, guessing his range with a wide smile. ''I would love to try a 62, but I might need a little wind at my back.''