Kicking session at RJS helped Aguayo break his slump
Roberto Aquayo kept reminding himself that he had been kicking footballs through the uprights since he was 8-years old, a simple, repetitive motion that should not disappear under pressure.
“Just I’ve done this my whole life. I sit back and think my collegiate career didn’t happen by accident,'' said Aguayo, the Bucs kicker who never missed from 40-yards or closer during his career at Florida State. "I just went back and realized how I got here just doing what I do on a regular basis. Not try to overthink it too much or try to put more pressure than I need on myself.''
Until Friday, Aguayo had a niightmarish start to his NFL career. His first pro kick was a point after attempt that hit the upright in Philadelphia. He missed two field goals last week at Jacksonville. And on Tuesday, the Bucs second-round pick missed three of six field goal attempts in a joint practice against the Browns.
Aguayo didn't kick field goals or extra points in practice Wednesday. But special teams coach Nate Kaczor took all the specialists to work out in Raymond James Stadium and Aguayo attempted about 25 kicks with the new video boards operating.
“We said a while ago, he’s a tough-minded kid,'' Koetter said. "He was definitely in a slump for three or five days there. Actually, the day that you guys all thought he didn’t kick, even though he did kickoff that day about 10 times against Cleveland, Nate brought all the specialists over here and he kicked in the stadium. I think that was good for him to come over here with a couple of the special teams coaches, the two punters, the two holders, the long snappers. They came over and kicked. He kicked about 25 kicks in the stadium with the scoreboard and everything.
“That’s definitely the guy we drafted. That’s what he’s getting paid to do and he did it.''
But Aguayo said he could not have had a better turnaround Friday. He entered the game after the Bucs' first drive stalled and drilled a 48-yard field goal. Even before the kick, Bucs fans were cheering him on. Afterward, he was greeted by nearly every teammate at midfield.
“I was in the zone a little bit and focusing on the task at hand,'' Aguayo said. "But making the first field goal, I did hear a good cheer so that’s always good.
“This team is built on family and these guys got my back. It’s one thing that I noticed since I’ve got here and through the preseason. It’s not just one person, it’s everyone. They make a good play, and when I made that first one, with every kick, they congratulate me. Vice versa, I congratulate guys when they make a good play. That’s how a family should work.''