Uploaded Ad

Brooks: Goodman Finds Perspective

Courtesy: B.G. Brooks, Contributing Editor
Release: August 17, 2009
Article Image
Aric Goodman has adopted a new mindset for 2009.   By CUBuffs.com
Related Links
BOULDER - Placekicker Aric Goodman has spent much of the past eight months putting his 2008 football season in perspective. Mildly stated, it wasn't good, but Goodman believes he has dealt with it and moved on.

Real perspective, though, in coping with what life can fling at anyone, at anytime, might have come on an evening last week after practice.

Goodman hitched a ride with teammates Cody Hawkins, Scotty McKnight and Kyle Cefalo from Colorado's lower practice field to the Dal Ward Athletics Center - a short trip on foot up a steep hill, a little longer one by car.

But making it in a vehicle saves steps, which is always a good idea during two-a-days. And on this night, that decision might have saved a CU student's life.

As Goodman and his teammates rounded a shadowy curve on the access road that fronts Dal Ward and feeds into Folsom Street, they noticed a downed bicycle.

"The area is so dark, it almost looked like just a bike and a backpack," Goodman recalled. "Then we did a double-take, saw him and Cody stopped the car. We tried to figure out what was going on."

Jacob Dana, a senior geology major, had crashed. He apparently hit a curb, theorized Goodman, and lost control of his bicycle. Although unconscious, Dana still was clutching the handlebars, with his feet still strapped to the bicycle's pedals.

Dana had suffered apparent head injuries and was bleeding profusely. In addition to the four football players at the scene, CU sophomore volleyball player Becah Fogle had happened upon the accident.

Goodman said a couple of 911 calls were made on cell phones, but he wound up talking to the investigating officer. Goodman never found out the injured student's name that night, only learning it several days later when he, Hawkins and Fogle received letters of commendation from athletic director Mike Bohn for their actions.

"I feel like that's the standard and any student would follow it," Goodman said. "We were put in that situation and it wasn't anything extraordinary that we did.

"Anyone else would do it, it just happened to be us . . . fortunately we were there in time and his injuries weren't more severe."

But they were severe enough.

Dana initially was in intensive care at an area hospital, but had progressed enough so that he was expected to be released by week's end. Still, it was believed that considerable rehabilitation would be required.

Goodman, a junior who transferred to CU from Wyoming, knows a little about rehabbing - but more of the mental variety.

In 2008, he slumped about as badly as a placekicker could slump, missing eight consecutive kicks after hitting a 25-yard game-winner in overtime against West Virginia in the season's third game. He finished 5-of-14, needing to make his last two attempts even to reach five.

A former walk-on after transferring, Goodman was moving toward scholarship consideration by hitting almost everything he attempted during August camp. His teammates even began calling him "Money," but when the slide began it all seemed counterfeit.

If a season like that doesn't promote humility, humility might be beyond reach. Oh, Goodman was humbled, but Kent Riddle, CU's special teams coach, says it wasn't completed overnight.  

"I think he would tell you he lost a lot of confidence and he tried to portray some false confidence on the outside, just trying to make something better. And it all kind of compounded and went downhill," Riddle said.

When Goodman finally reached the hill's bottom, probably sometime in mid-November when his kicks were drifting wide by a foot or less or uncannily finding one of the uprights, Riddle said humility began to supplant that sense of false confidence.

"Most people recognize he went through an extremely hard year," Riddle said. "Production-wise, he was at the bottom of the ladder. But I think he's done a great job of picking himself up.

"You know, a lot of guys would have just quit and said, 'I don't need this.' But he's really battled back and shown some mental toughness.

"When you're at the bottom, if you're a fighter, you're going to climb back up. As you do that, and you climb back up, you realize some things. It has helped him mature, and that's going to help him on the field.

"He's a good kicker; he's going to be fine. He just had a bad year and things kind of snowballed."

In the long, introspective off-season that followed, Goodman, who can be conscientious to a fault, began to analyze his problem and became more cognizant of the entire process than the kick-by-kick results.

"Which I think is huge because you're not quite as dejected if the kick doesn't go the way you wanted it to," he said.

"You're more, 'Why did it do that and how do I fix it?' That's really changed things for me so far this fall. I'm going into the season with that mindset.

"It's extremely rare that somebody goes through a season without a miss. Being a kicker, the most important thing anyway is your next kick. You can't go back and change the last one; you have to learn from it, do your best and not make the same mistake twice."

That all makes sense to Riddle, who believes Goodman's new-found confidence is genuine as opposed to something akin to an escape mechanism. 

"I think he's found that there's confidence in the process and the preparation," Riddle said. "And so now, I think he's got some real confidence.

"It's not like if it goes through I'm a great player, if it doesn't, I stink, I'm terrible. Do the same thing every time. I think that's helped him relax a little bit.

"I feel much better about that because the preparation and the process he goes through getting ready is a lot tighter now. He's got a lot better mental approach to what he does.

"Hey, I want the guy to make every field goal, but the reality is, he might not. He might miss one. And the thing to do when that happens is bounce back and not let it snowball."

Last season, Riddle didn't have many options when Goodman faltered. Transfer Jameson Davis usually was iffy, nursing a plant leg problem that required off-season knee surgery.

Said Riddle: "It doesn't hurt now that we have some competition for (Goodman) . . . we didn't last year, so the only answer was to keep working with him." 

Davis still is not 100 per cent for field goal purposes, but hopes to be able to kick off in the opener then gradually work back into the field goal competition.

Then there's scholarship freshman Zach Grossnickle and walk-on Ryan Aweida, who each kicked a short field goal in last week's first full camp scrimmage.

That same afternoon, Goodman was much busier than anticipated, attempting 14 field goals and making 10. His misses came from 57, 48, 45 and 37 (blocked) yards, but he said was disappointed in only one of the errant kicks.

Inside 45 yards, he said, "I want to be perfect." His made kicks last week ranged from 30 to 47 yards.

"I just want to go out and limit the small mistakes, pay attention to details, remember to go through my pre-kick progression - just do the mental checklist," he added. "If I miss a kick for some small stupid reason, that's what's going to bother me.

"If I go out there and hit the ball good, but end up missing, then just figure out what I did wrong and move on and hit the next one. The big thing for me is, if I miss a kick, then that's fine.

"But don't miss the next one."

Contact: BG.Brooks@Colorado.EDU

During his four years in Boulder, wider receiver Nelson Spruce became the Pac-12's career receptions lea...
Pac-12 Networks' Kyndra De St. Aubin talks with Colorado defensive back Chidobe Awuzie after his...
JB Long and Glenn Parker of Pac-12 Networks recap Colorado's Spring Game on Saturday afternoon in...