Friday, November 1, 2013
Aguayo hopes to ignore history vs. Miami
By David M. Hale
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Bobby Bowden was peppered with questions about the old days when he made his long-awaited return to Doak Campbell Stadium last week, and he was happy to indulge. But when asked for any advice he might pass along to Florida State's current coach, Bowden was reticent.
It's Jimbo Fisher's team now, Bowden said, and the new coach knows what he's doing. If pressed though, there were some words of wisdom Bowden said he might impart in advance of this week's meeting with Miami.
"I'd say, Jimbo, have a talk with your kicker, and tell him where that goalpost is," Bowden joked. "Tell him to stay away from that bar on the right."
That right goalpost, the bane of Bowden's coaching career.
Redshirt freshman Roberto Aguayo hasn't missed a kick in his young career ... but this is Miami week.
The mythology of missed kicks in this series has been told again and again -- each named for the direction they wandered and punctuated with a Roman numeral. It's Florida State's version of horror movie sequels, the villain that won't die.
Fans have been happy to remind Roberto Aguayo of the stories this week, too, but honestly, he didn't need the history lesson. The first three kicks predated his birth, of course, but he's well aware of what happened. The last wide right, in 2004, still stings.
Aguayo was at a friend's house. The rest of the crowd was comprised of Miami fans, Aguayo and his brother the lone Seminoles supporters. Xavier Beitia missed a potential game-winner, Florida State fell in devastating fashion, and Aguayo left the house in tears.
"It broke my heart," Aguayo said.
This week, he has done his best to ignore that lingering memory, along with the slew of reminders from fans still wounded from all the misses that came before. Misses, after all, aren't really part of Aguayo's vocabulary.
Through seven games, the redshirt freshman hasn't exactly been tested. He has lined up for just 10 field goals, none longer than 45 yards. He has worn out his leg booting extra points, 48 of them in all. It has been a bit frustrating, he said, because Jameis Winston and the offense simply haven't provided him with many chances for big kicks.
"I'll be getting ready, all warmed up kicking them into the net," Aguayo said. "Then he gets the first down, and I go back and sit down."
Still, Aguayo's debut season hasn't been without accolades. So far, he has lined up for 58 kicks in his career, and he has made every one of them.
Turns out, that's a school record for consecutive kicks made, though Aguayo wasn't exactly celebrating his place in history. He wasn't aware of the record at all until a fan approached him after last week's game with the news.
"I was like, 'OK, that's pretty cool,' " Aguayo said.
But for Aguayo, that record actually might be the most appropriate marker of his success. He is not interested in the pressure of a big moment or the length of a booming kick. His goal, he said, is to treat each kick the same -- whether it's one of those 48 PATs or a potential game-winner at the end of another close game against an in-state rival.
Yes, Aguayo knows the history. It's Miami week, which means the kicker will be a talking point for everyone from casual fans to a legendary former coach. But for Aguayo, the key to his success is that it's just another day at work.
"Every kick's a game-winning kick," he said. "That's how you've got to think about it. So when you get into that position, you've already kicked it a million times."