Mississippi State knew it had a void to fill on special teams when kicker Westin Graves retired from football last January. What little fans saw of the team’s remaining field goal specialists this spring, however, was enough to raise concerns about the position entering summer workouts.
Sophomore Brad Wall and redshirt freshman Jace Christmann, both walk-ons, combined to go 0-for-3 on field goal attempts during the Maroon and White scrimmage. Wall made a 26-yarder but missed from 41 yards out, while Christmann missed from 26 yards.
Because Mississippi State closed its other spring practice sessions, our only public glimpse of the position came during that scrimmage. But MSU coach Dan Mullen also expressed some uneasiness about his kickers Monday during the SEC spring football teleconference.
“Coming out of spring, it’s not a position we’re comfortable in right now,” Mullen said. “But we still have a ways to go to get to our first game to get comfortable and see where we’re at.”
The apparent kicking struggles open the door even wider for incoming freshman Tucker Day to be the Bulldogs’ starting kicker this fall. Day, the No. 9-ranked punter in the Class of 2017 according to the 247Sports Composite, is set to enroll this summer.
“You look at it, there’s going to be some great opportunity for guys to get on the field and play right away,” Mullen said. “There’s going to be opportunities for them to earn a spot. They’ll play right away. It’ll be a wide-open race.”
Kicking woes hampered MSU last season, when Graves went just 11 of 19 on field goal tries. He also missed two attempts during the Week 1 upset loss to South Alabama.