It’s no secret that Texas Tech struggled with field goals in 2017. As a team the Red Raider kickers were 12/22 (54.5%) on kicks last fall. Everyone in the stands rolled their eyes or groaned when the field goal team was sent onto the field. It was atrocious, aggravating, and comical for Red Raider fans everywhere. While 2017 is behind us, can we expect any improvement from Clayton Hatfield and company this year?
Clayton Hatfield was the clear starting kicker going into last season, but after a hip injury sidelined him for numerous games, Texas Tech struggled to put the ball through the uprights. During the 2016 season Hatfield was 13/14 on kicks and 65/70 on extra points. All of which are dependable numbers for a kicker in the Big 12. After coming back from injury, Hatfield struggled in 2017 by going 6/10 on kicks. While he was perfect on extra points last year, the frustration among Red Raiders had already gone overboard after 3 different kickers had gone 6/13 kicking field goals before Hatfield could return.
Not many Red Raider fans should have been concerned with the kicking game going into last year, but Hatfield’s injury certainly impacted the team in the win/loss column. With a new Special Teams Coordinator in Adam Scheier, we can hope to see some improvement with the Texas Tech kickers during the 2018 campaign.
This season, Hatfield is expected to be healthy and will likely bring a reliable foot with him on the field. Hopefully we will see the 2015 and 2016 version of Hatfield that helped us secure wins at Texas, where he received the game ball along with Jakeem Grant (2015) and at TCU (2016). After a tough kicking year for the Red Raiders, I expect this special teams unit to bounce back and put more points on the board this year.