Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Under Pressure: K Roberto Aguayo
By David M. Hale
Each season brings with it new expectations, and a handful of Seminoles will bear the brunt of the pressure to perform in 2013. We're counting down the top 10 FSU players being counted on the most to help the Seminoles live up to expectations.
Florida State kicker Roberto Aguayo spent the 2012 season as the apprentice to Dustin Hopkins.
2012 performance: Aguayo's first season in Tallahassee proved to be an ideal scenario. Originally set to grayshirt, a late scholarship opened and Jimbo Fisher was happy to hand it to his kicker of the future. Aguayo spent the season watching and learning from Dustin Hopkins, getting a feel for the demands of the job from one of the best to put on a Seminoles uniform.
Pressure point: For kickers, the pressure is always on, but Hopkins spent four years at FSU doing the job as if he hadn't a care in the world. That consistency set a high bar, including the NCAA scoring mark for kickers, and Aguayo has some big shoes to fill. Hopkins didn't bother trying to temper expectations of Aguayo, either. Hopkins, drafted by the Buffalo Bills, has already predicted Aguayo would break many of his records over the next four years.
If he succeeds: Aguayo will be well on his way toward toppling some of those records Hopkins set along the way, and Florida State fans can relax and enjoy the fact that the kicker spot is set for another four seasons. Aguayo showed plenty of leg in the spring game, including drilling a 58-yarder as time expired, and if he can gain Fisher's trust early, he could be a major weapon for a team that might struggle to find its offensive footing with a new quarterback.
If he fails: There is no Plan B. Aguayo was tabbed as the successor to one of the nation's top kickers from Day 1, and that comes with its own set of pressures. And in a season in which the margin for error for the Seminoles figures to be far less than it was a year ago, it's hard to believe there won't be at least one game that comes down to a big kick. While Aguayo talks a good game about embracing the role, there's a big difference between watching from the sidelines and drilling a big kick in a key moment. And, of course, FSU fans probably understand that distinction better than anyone.
Projection: The future appears bright for Aguayo, who certainly has the leg for the job and appears to have the confidence to go with it. Still, it's worth remembering that even Hopkins wasn't a star from Day 1. As a freshman, he connected on just 70 percent of his field goals (and just 8 of 14 longer than 40 yards), and along the way he missed a few big ones. It would be surprising if Aguayo completely fell apart under the pressure this year, and topping Hopkins' freshman-year performance seems an appropriate standard, but the biggest tests won't come until he's faced some adversity and is forced to rebound. Projecting how a kicker responds to that is tough to do.