They’re not the most popular players on a football team, but they are damn near the most important.
Kickers can virtually make or break a team. If you have a dependable one, then you are set at crunch time. If not, then you may find yourself going for it on fourth down more than you would like.
West Virginia, who has seen a lot of Evan Staley over the last four years, hasn’t had the most success at kicker during that time frame. Sure, Staley has had his moments, but now that he is out for an unknown amount of time with an apparent knee injury, there is no telling when he will come back, or if he even will. The Romney, West Virginia native indicated that he would return when announcing his injury, but anything can happen. He is one of the seniors who has a big decision looming of whether to take advantage of the COVID-19 frozen eligibility, or to go.
Also seeing time at kicker this season was Tyler Sumpter, albeit brief. He made of both of his field goal attempts at Iowa State, and has split time as the team’s punter with Kolton McGhee. He is also a senior that must decide if he wants to return.
Finally, we come to the last kicker to see time for WVU (with the coolest name I will add). Casey Legg performed okay in Staley’s absence. Not great, but okay. He has connected on 5 of 7 of his field goal attempts with a long of 45. However, after a miss in the Iowa State contest, he was pulled in favor of Sumpter for the remainder of the game.
So what is the purpose in bringing these three gentlemen up? Well it is simple, really. WVU has three kickers and none all at the same time. For the first time in what seems like forever, there is uncertainty at kicker for WVU.
In truth, there is no telling if Staley will ever be in his original form after a knee injury. His legs are important for his position after all. Legg has had flashes, but with the coaching staff being so quick to pull him, are they confident enough to ride with him full-time? And finally to Sumpter – he is the most experienced of all of the kickers. He has talent, but he has yet to lend a hand to whether he will return or not.
Going into the offseason, what WVU will do at kicker in 2021 will rely on several situations. If Staley returns and can make a quick recovery, then there is no reason he shouldn’t reclaim his position. But if he cannot, will Legg do enough to be reliable for the Mountaineers? Then if he were to struggle, and Sumpter doesn’t return, where will the the team turn then? There is a lot to unpack about the kicker position for WVU moving forward, and we can do nothing but watch it unravel.
It’s complex, yet fascinating. Though it may not be the sexiest discussion, kicker is something that we will be paying attention to between now and the beginning of the 2021 season.
What will happen? Who knows. We just hope WVU can find some consistency in putting three points on the board.