August 14, 2010

Barclay hopes to show range





COLUMBUS, Ohio - Devin Barclay spoke quietly to reporters after Ohio State's kick scrimmage in the spring, noticeably disappointed in his performance following perhaps the most important day of spring ball for kickers.



It is presumably that spring kick scrimmage that has Barclay in the middle of a kicking battle with Ben Buchanan and freshman Drew Basil.



"It was just a bad day," Barclay said following the scrimmage in April. "I can't really say it was one thing or the other."



Though Barclay has never struggled with proving his accuracy as a field goal kicker, his apparent weakness in the spring was his inability to consistently knock through longer field goal attempts.



Barclay finished the spring kick scrimmage 8-for-15 in his field goals, but struggled mightily with ones coming from longer range, finishing just 1-for-7 in attempts from 40 yards out or longer.



This offseason Barclay has spent time making sure he has a better showing in Saturday's fall kick scrimmage, which could be the difference for Barclay heading into the season.



"I have worked on the longer field goals, made some adjustments," Barclay said. "I have gained a lot of muscle and I have worked on my kickoffs as well. I am definitely looking forward to the opportunity."



Barclay had spent five seasons playing professional soccer before joining the Buckeyes - two of which he spent with the local professional team, the Columbus Crew - but decided football was the best route for him.



Aaron Pettrey, Ohio State's starter last year, was injured in the New Mexico State game on a kickoff where he suffered a torn ligament in his knee, giving Barclay the opportunity to step in as the team's starting kicker for the remainder of the regular season.



Barclay proved last season that he could make big kicks under pressure as he cemented himself into Ohio State history with a 39-yard game-winning overtime field goal against Iowa, clinching the Big Ten title and a trip to the Rose Bowl for Ohio State.



"It will be something that will always be just a surreal experience. It is something that I very much will always remember," said Barclay, recollecting that special moment in his career. "But it was last year. At this point, it is about making new memories and going forward and I have worked harder than I ever have to make sure that I'm ready for that."



During his span as the starting kicker for the Buckeyes down the stretch of the season last year, Barclay went 7-of-10 on his attempts and knocked through 12-of-12 extra point attempts.



However, it is possible that the kicking job won't be won or lost by any one kicker on the roster. The current forecast looks as if Barclay would be sent on to do shorter field goals within his range while Basil and Buchanan split longer attempts and kickoff duties.



Barclay is hoping he can prove he has the leg to knock through the longer attempts, which could go a long way in ensuring he is the full-time field goal kicker. That's certainly his plan.



"That's absolutely my goal -- I'd ideally like to have every kicking job there is here," Barclay said. "To limit myself to one thing, I don't think anybody wants that. Everybody wants to do everything they possibly can and be able to be that guy for your team."



Barclay mentioned he now weighs roughly 215 pounds, which is a major increase from his soccer days where he was weighing 160 pounds. Barclay hasn't gained weight from last year, but said he is now carrying "better weight," the most important thing when it comes to improving field goal range.



While the kick scrimmage in the spring did serve as a speed bump in his quest to be the starter this year, he isn't stressing about the kick scrimmage Saturday afternoon in the Horseshoe.



"If I kick consistently well like I did in the spring with the exception of one day, I'm not worried," Barclay said. "I'm sure everything will take care of itself."



Ari Wasserman is a staff writer for BuckeyeGrove.com. He can be reached at Ari@BuckeyeGrove.com.














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