LOS ANGELES — The state of USC’s kicking game became a political football last week when former kicker Matt Boermeester’s girlfriend released a statement saying he was falsely accused of assaulting her.
It also served as a reminder USC needs a kicker to replace Boermeester. As of today, it will be redshirt freshman Michael Brown.
That places some doubt over the position, especially after Boermeester’s 18 field goals last season were one shy of the school record. And everyone remembers Boermeester’s 46-yard field goal to win the Rose Bowl.
Based on USC’s first seven practices, Brown won’t be much help to USC if it needs a long field goal. Whether Clay Helton even wants one is debatable and probably something that will be determined over the course of the season.
Brown’s made 15 of 20 field-goal attempts in training camp but his longest kick was 45 yards. He was short on a 46-yard attempt, missed a 45-yarder, missed a 44-yarder and missed two from 43 yards.
If USC’s national title hopes rest on making a long field goal, it’s currently a queasy prospect. Imagine USC playing Washington in the Pac-12 Conference championship game and needing a 50-yard field goal for a victory?
It might be scary but USC special teams coach John Baxter has never shown doubts about Brown.
“I’m comfortable with who we have,” Baxter said. “Our philosophy is if a guy wears a uniform, we’re here to develop him.”
The Trojans added walk-on Chase McGrath of Mater Dei High. He offers competition but at the moment is clearly behind Brown.
Boermeester is fondly remembered but was also 0 for 3 from beyond 50 yards last season.
Long-range kicks might not even be necessary especially when you have Sam Darnold to go for it on fourth-and-4 situations.
Still, Boermeester was 8 for 11 from 40-49 yards and had a long of 49 against Arizona State. Right now it is difficult to imagine Brown or anyone else matching that mark. Or Helton letting them try.
This does not even consider Boermeester’s kickoffs, where 43 of 86 last season were touchbacks. McGrath might exceed Boermeester after 84 of his 106 kickoffs were touchbacks at Mater Dei last season. But he is currently unproven because USC has not practiced kickoffs yet and high school kickers use the 40-yard line while college kickers use the 35.
Will anyone root harder for Brown to succeed than USC’s administration?
Since last week, Boermeester’s been the subject of many articles in mostly political websites…