Head coach Jim McElwain likes to say that if he doesn’t know a player’s name, that’s a good thing—that means they’re doing their job. As one of the most reliable players on the team, McElwain simply calls junior Jared Roberts “Kicker.”
This week Roberts was named one of 20 semifinalists for the 2013 Lou Groza Collegiate Place Kicker Award, an award given annually to the nation’s top kicker. Roberts is the only player on the list from the Mountain West Conference.
“The season’s not over yet obviously, and that’s just one step in it but it is an honor,” Roberts said. “It speaks to the whole success of the team and I’ve got a good snapper and holder and guys blocking out there for me so it’s not just me out there, we’re a unit. It’s definitely a huge honor and I’m really humbled by it because there are some really great kickers around the country.”
The award is named after one of the greatest kickers of all time, Lou Groza. Groza played 21 seasons in the NFL for the Cleveland Browns from 1946-67. In 1974 he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He died in 2000 at the age of 76.
While being named a semifinalist for the award is an honor, Roberts said his focus remains on the task at hand–helping his team get to a bowl game for the first time since 2008.
“You try not to think about (winning the award) because as a kicker you just want to take it one kick at a time, but with anything it’s great to be recognized for something you work hard at,” Roberts said. “If the time came and I won it I would be honored and it would be a cool experience. It would be a team award for sure because it’s not just me.”
Roberts has made 12 of his 14 field goal attempts this season and all 35 extra points. The winner of the award will be announced live on Dec. 12 at the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on ESPN.
Football Beat Reporter Katie O’Keefe can be reached at email@example.com.