Tantarelli puts bad day behind him

MU kicker looking ahead to the Tigers’ game at Baylor on Saturday.
Wednesday, October 6, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 12:48 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

Joe Tantarelli’s not kicking himself for his missed kicks Saturday.

In Missouri’s 17-9 win against Colorado on Saturday, Tantarelli missed three field goals, more than he has missed in one game.

“I’ve never had a day like that,” Tantarelli said Monday during the Tigers’ media day. “I’m talking about going back to high school, and in college and at the JC last year, I’ve never had a day like that, not even in practice.”

Tantarelli said in high school, he once missed two extra points in a single game as a freshman or sophomore, but not since. “I was talking with my dad and he was like, ‘Man, I haven’t seen something like that since high school,’ ” Tantarelli said. “But you know stuff like that happens.”

After winning the kicking job in preseason practice, Tantarelli had been perfect in the first three games, connecting on all 15 extra point attempts and all three field goal attempts.

That perfect streak continued when he made a season-long 45-yard field goal with 12 minutes, 25 seconds remaining in the first half, despite not making great contact with the ball.

On Missouri’s next possession, Tantarelli’s struggles began. He once again did not have a strong kick, but unlike his previous attempt that fell barely over the goal post, his 44-yard attempt was short.

In the second half, Tantarelli overcorrected, pulling 42- and 39-yard attempts wide left.

“The last two, I think I tried to kick a little too hard or whatnot and that’s why I pulled them and they were actually pretty bad,” Tantarelli said.

He said he was surprised his strong kicks missed the mark.

“I felt no pressure at all,” he said. “And that’s why I said I don’t know what happened out there. I came off after the fourth miss (kick), and I was talking with one of the coaches and I said, ‘You know what, I though I hit that ball great, you know.’ It felt great and I just don’t know what happened. I kept my head down and all that stuff.”

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said Tantarelli barely missed on all three miscues, and the criticism directed at the kicker is unwarranted.

“Two of the misses, he missed by a foot-and-a-half, he just pulled them a little bit,” Pinkel said. “And those were long, we didn’t give him any chip shots.

“Everybody was so elated with how well he was doing and now to sit there, for anybody to sit there and say he’s not any good is not fair to him, and I think he is good.”

Soon after the game was over, Tantarelli began to focus on Baylor and the strength he could derive from the adversity of the misses.

“It kind of comes with the territory. To me personally, I just see it as a bump in the road. I’ll put it behind me, I already have put it behind me,” Tantarelli said.

“Definitely, the last 48 hours have made me stronger, just getting refocused and obviously flushing it Saturday night, forgetting about it and coming back yesterday to practice and whatnot, just refocusing myself and getting back to what I do best. It’s made me stronger the past 48 hours.”

RECRUIT ON TV: Want to get an early peek at Chase Daniel, a quarterback already committed to Missouri out of Southlake Carroll High School in Texas?

Well, Southlake Carroll will play Denton Ryan on ESPN2 at 8:30 p.m. Oct. 14.

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