Giorgio Tavecchio had a solid season last year, but two of his most remembered plays were the missed field goal against Arizona (which would have put the Bears up 12-3) and the false start and subsequent missed field goal against Oregon. The resilient Italian has not let the fans' criticism get to him, especially after the missed field goal in the fourth quarter against Oregon last season.
"My job is to stay composed back there, and that [the false start and subsequent missed field goal] was just kind of a fluke," Tavecchio said. "It was one of those things that just happens. I'm doing my best to just stay composed back there and stay under control."
So far, so good. The senior has made all five of his tries this season but has yet to face a pressure situation near the end of a game.
Tavecchio was 11 for 16 on field goal attempts last season, 5 for 9 from beyond 30 yards. One of those misses beyond the 30 came when Tavecchio failed on a 40-yarder with under three minutes to play that would have sealed a win at Arizona. Instead, the Wildcats scored a touchdown with 1:11 remaining for a 10-9 victory.
"He's very mentally tough," Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. "As a kicker, there are so many ups and downs. I've seen him come a long way. He's really worked hard."
Tavecchio has become a lightning rod for Cal's fan base, with some wondering if Tedford could find somebody more consistent. Tavecchio has had three extra-point attempts blocked this season, although two appeared to be the product of poor protection.
Tavecchio acknowledges that he hears the criticism but allows it to motivate him only so much.
"It's always motivation," he said. "I'm a very motivated guy. But I'm not motivated by failure. I'm motivated by success and the possibility of helping my team to victory."
After the jump Oregon shuts down media and fan access to its practices and JO talks to Tosh Lupoi about everyone's favorite topic from last season: FAKEINJURYGATE!
- JO reports from Thursday's practice. No major notes to report, but the Bears get the weekend off before returning Sunday morning to continue prepping for Oregon.
- Lupoi talks about the fake injuries last year against Oregon. Although the media made a big stink about it, he did not hear anything about it while recruiting in December and January.
- Oregon has closed practice to fans and the media.