Oldroyd missed two potential game-winning field goals last week against the Bears.
Provo • The morning after Jake Oldroyd missed two field goals, each of which could have guaranteed BYU’s victory over Baylor, he went out onto the practice field in order to walk through his mistakes.
It was a solitary experience, just Oldroyd on the field working on the mechanics that failed him the night before. Millions of eyes were on him when he missed the 35-yarder in regulation, then a 37-yarder in overtime, that would have knocked off the Big 12 champions and produced BYU’s biggest win in years. This time it was just him and a ball.
“I felt a lot better about it,” Oldroyd said after he finished the session. “I hit a bunch of balls. I immediately just wanted to work on my craft. I identified a few changes. I don’t want to kick more than I need to and do any harm to my body. [But] I made the changes I need to.”
He made changes, but he remains the guy BYU will call upon again.
“Of course [I’m still the guy],” he said. “Everyone still has their faith and trust in me. I hope I can continue to keep that.”
Oldroyd’s misses are now just a footnote in BYU’s win over Baylor. But he was first the ire of BYU fans when he twice failed to close the door on the Bears. Then when the Cougars pulled out the win, he became a symbol, as tarting quarterback Jaren Hall embraced him n a moment captured on ESPN and circulated on the internet.
The days after, though, have been a challenge in regrouping both mentally and physically.
“Tough, super tough, obviously,” Oldroyd said. “I’m trying to move on and get ready for this next week. But you can’t hide from what happened in the past and you have to embrace it a bit. You have to accept that I didn’t execute how I wanted but I’m using that as motivation for this week.”
For the last four years, the junior has been BYU’s most dependable kicker, making 75% of his field goals. Oldroyd owns BYU’s school record for consecutive field goals made from 2020 to 2021, with 16. Head coach Kalani Sitake said Oldroyd’s history with the program gives him confidence that he will bounce back.
But as with any kicker, a mistake has the potential to mess with the psyche. Much of this week has been spent trying to recalibrate to avoid that.
Oldoryd spoke one-on-one with Sitake this week. He also went back and spoke with former BYU players, including punter Jonny Linehan, and current teammates about the situation.
He noted that he was comfortable kicking from the left hash during regulation and the center of the field in overtime.
“Just about everyone on the team, I’ve had an individual conversation with,” Oldroyd said. “Guys are very supportive. Everyone has had the same message for me and it is something I have channeled and used and, hopefully, it will carry me through the season.”
Oldroyd said he expected to be bombarded with negative messages from fans. Thus far, he indicated that hasn’t happened. He estimates that he’s received “hundreds” of messages in support of his ability.
He also said it caught him by surprise the ESPN broadcast caught the moment between Hall and Oldroyd embracing immediately after the game.
“During that last defensive stand, he came over and knelt by me,” Oldroyd said of the quarterback. “He didn’t even really say anything until the game was over. He just kind of stayed with me and we prayed together in our hearts and hoped the defense pulled it out.
“Then after we pulled it out, it was just a big wave of emotion. A lot of things going through my head, both disappointment and then really grateful for my teammates. Jaren told me over and over he loved me.”
There is some unease in Oldroyd’s mind about his next kick at Oregon, where he will be BYU’s starting kicker again this week. But he understands that, and says there is no avoiding it.
“Obviously there is extra pressure, you know?” Oldroyd said. “You make a big kick in a game and you feel like you have to follow that up the next week. You miss a big kick and you have to redeem yourself. That is kinda how it works. It is a tough position to be in regardless, just being a kicker.
“That is what I do and what I have been doing my whole career. Just got to bounce back regardless of whatever additional pressure there may be.”