It's usually a snap when Oregon State calls on vet kicker

by: COURTESY OF OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY - Trevor Romaine is 9 of 12 on field goals this season for Oregon State, despite having to work with three long snappers, including the current job-holder, redshirt freshman Andrew Maughan from Oregon City.CORVALLIS — After already having knocked through a career-long 50-yard field goal, Trevor Romaine was surprised when coach Mike Riley chose not to follow it with a 35-yard attempt in the second quarter of Oregon State’s 20-12 loss to Stanford last Saturday.

The Beavers failed on fourth-and-3 from the Stanford 18-yard line. Three points would have given OSU a 6-0 lead and would have come in very handy in what was destined to be a low-scoring affair.

But Romaine knows better than to criticize his coach.

“Of course I was disappointed, but Coach Riley is making that decision based on putting the team in the best position to win the game,” the 6-foot, 200-pound junior from Corona, Calif., said. “He’s doing things for the team, not just for me.”

Riley said a lack of faith in Romaine wasn’t the reason for eschewing the 35-yard try.

“That wasn’t it at all,” Riley said. “I just thought a touchdown would be awesome for our team at the time. I knew points were going to be hard to come by. I thought we’d make (a first down). I like Trevor a lot. That’s why I put him out there (to kick a 39-yarder) late in the game.”

If Riley and special-teams coach Bruce Read have doubts about the kicking situation, it has less to do with Romaine and more to do with the loss of long snapper Michael Morovick to knee surgery after the San Diego State game on Sept. 21.

“I know they have faith in me,” Romaine said. “If there is any (lack of faith), it might be with the snapper situation.”

Morovick’s backups were a pair of walk-ons, Harrison Linsky and Andrew Maughan. For the next game after San Diego State — Colorado on Sept. 28 — the Beavers used Linsky for place-kicks and Maughan for punts. Since then, Maughan has been employed for both duties twice, including the Stanford contest.

“It has been a revolving door, with a different snapper for five games in a row,” senior holder Tim McMullen said. “That has made it difficult.”

“It affects the rhythm,” Romaine said. “It throws the timing off a little. We had it down so well with Mike. Now we’re adjusting for speed and location. I know it affects Tim’s ability to get the ball down in enough time for me.”

Linsky’s not-quite-on-target snap played a part in Romaine missing his only attempt in Oregon State’s 49-17 victory at California — a 31-yard try that bounced off the right upright.

After the game, Romaine asked Read to decide on a snapper early in the week so the group could work together. Ironically, Maughan’s first snap against Stanford — on the 50-yard make by Romaine — was a floating knuckleball that McMullen managed to set down cleanly.

“The other two, though, were perfect speed and location,” McMullen noted.

One was on a conversion attempt that was blocked, Romaine’s first miss after making 36 PATs in a row this season.

“My fault,” he said. “Good snap, good spot. I felt like I hit it off my ankle more than the sweet spot of my foot.”

As a sophomore in 2012, Romaine was the Pac-12’s leading percentage field-goal kicker, making 16 of 18 attempts with a long of 45 yards, while missing three of 54 PAT tries. This season, he is 9 for 12 on 3-pointers, including makes from 50 and 49 and misses from 52, 42 and 31.

“I’m not very happy with that,” Romaine said. “Missed a couple I should have made. But from this point forward, I’m feeling great, I really am. I know what I can do.”

“It’s been a bit frustrating, missing three,” McMullen said, “but two of them probably weren’t his fault.”

In his second season working with McMullen, Romaine feels in complete synergy with his holder.

“I never worry about that,” Romaine said. “Tim is as good as anyone around.”

“We have a great chemistry together,” McMullen said. “Trevor relies on me. It’s a nice responsibility to have.”

Romaine is one of the best distance kickers in Oregon State history. He has 20 touchbacks in 57 kickoffs after totaling 36 touchbacks in 82 kickoffs a year ago. He has not been short on a field-goal attempt this season and figures his range extends to 60 yards.

“I tell myself I’ll never miss a kick short,” he said. “I pride myself on my leg strength.”

Maughan, a 6-4, 205-pound redshirt freshman from Oregon City, will get the short-snapping duty again Friday night when Oregon State (6-2 overall, 4-1 in Pac-12 play) plays host to Southern Cal (5-3, 2-2) at Reser Stadium.

“Two straight weeks of work together will help,” McMullen said. “This kid can snap. I’m very optimistic. I think he’ll be fine the rest of the way. I know this: Trevor is nails. He is never going to be affected confidence-wise.”

Romaine wouldn’t mind a chance to kick a game-winner against the Trojans, though his preference would be that it doesn’t come down to that.

“I hope we destroy them, but I’m ready for it if it happens,” he said. “I’m waiting for my next chance.”

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