Tyler Davis — a Lou Groza Award semifinalist in 2016 — has made only 5-of-11 field goal attempts this season.
But James Franklin isn’t worried about his senior specialist.
“We’ll get it fixed,” the coach said. “I think, really, to be honest, if you take the blocks out of there, he’s doing pretty good. We just have to continue to work through it.”
Two of Davis’ attempts — one at Iowa, another against Indiana — were batted down due to poor blocking in front of him.
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The snap-hold combination wasn’t clean on his miss in the season opener, either. Kyle Vasey is replacing Tyler Yazujian as the long-snapper, and Billy Fessler is Penn State’s new holder.
But a few of the misses are on Davis. He pushed a 21-yarder on Saturday, couldn’t connect from 41 yards at Kinnick Stadium and hooked a 39-yard attempt against Georgia State.
Still, Franklin doesn’t seem to be freaking out.
He’s not removing Davis from kickoff duties to let him focus on field goals. Davis has 20 touchbacks on 31 attempts.
“Right now, we feel very confident with what he’s doing on kickoff, and we know he can be great as a field goal guy,” Franklin said. “We’ve just got to make sure that everybody that’s around Tyler is supporting him.”
Added Fessler, Davis’ holder: “Tyler’s a really talented kid. And we, across the board on our team, have a lot of confidence in him. I think we’re going to keep working and keep getting better.”
“I think whenever you’re at an academic school like Northwestern — I was at one with Vanderbilt — everybody just likes the story to be that you don’t have the same type of athletes. I don’t know if I necessarily would agree with that. ... Pat (Fitzgerald) has been there a long time. He played there, and there’s just a vision. There’s a lot of cohesion there. I think they are blue collar, hard-nosed, tough, smart and talented in my opinion, and that’s why they are a tough out because they have all the necessary ingredients to be successful.” — Franklin, on what makes Northwestern challenging