UMD kicker Nadeau is cool, calm and collecting records

  • Article by: RACHEL BLOUNT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 2, 2011 - 6:56 AM

Kicker David Nadeau, the Bulldogs' hero last year, is ready to help his team to another D-II national title.

David Nadeau (87), a walk-on from White Bear Lake, gives the Bulldogs extra confidence when he lines up for a kick. He owns school marks for most field goals (43), extra points (256) and points by a kicker (385).

Photo: Brett Groehler, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The more David Nadeau thought about it, the more nervous he got. No wonder, given the situation facing the Minnesota Duluth kicker: a 32-yard field-goal attempt, on the final play of last fall's NCAA Division II championship game, with the score tied at 17.

All that pressure made Nadeau feel queasy -- but not until he watched the replay a couple of days later. In real time, he cleared his mind and nailed the kick, just as he's done dozens of times in his Bulldogs career. Sealing UMD's second national title in three seasons may stand as his most memorable achievement. But the senior from White Bear Lake also holds 15 school records, with another opportunity to add to his legacy Saturday when the Bulldogs play host to Wayne State (Mich.) in the Division II quarterfinals.

Nadeau didn't play football until his junior year of high school, when he was recruited from the soccer team. A walk-on at UMD, he won the kicking job -- and later a scholarship -- as a true freshman in 2008.

In October, he made a 55-yard field goal in a victory over the University of Mary, breaking a UMD record that had stood for 34 years. He also has converted 73 consecutive points after touchdown and owns school marks for most field goals (43), extra points (256) and points by a kicker (385). Though he is nearing the end of his Bulldogs career, Nadeau will keep his emotions in check until it's finished -- just as he's done with every one of his kicks.

"I try to stay relaxed and not get too excited during games,'' Nadeau said. "If I get excited, my mechanics will be off, and everything will be out of whack.

"The whole emotion of [the championship game], I didn't grasp it at first. At the time, I didn't feel any of it, and it didn't hit me until I came home. I went through it like any other kick. It all comes down to preparation.''

The Bulldogs do a fine job of that in every practice. They always end with a drill called "Field Goal for the Game,'' which replicates the circumstances Nadeau faced in the championship game against Delta State. Day after day, he had made those kicks in wind and rain and bitter cold, with his teammates screaming at him just to make things a little tougher.

That routine has helped Nadeau develop his consistency. His desire to learn -- and a work ethic that coach Bob Nielson said is rare for a kicker -- helped him refine his technique.

Nadeau's years as a soccer defenseman had built a strong leg, and he became White Bear Lake's starting kicker in his first season of football. Though the motion did not come naturally to him, he was intrigued by the mechanics of kicking and began attending camps. The experience he gained in his freshman season with the Bulldogs, which ended with a national championship, left Nadeau confident that he could make a mark at UMD.

Nielson felt the same way. "David matured very rapidly as a kicker, and he worked hard to improve himself,'' he said. "You need your kicker to be confident, but you also need them to have a flat-line emotional level, because of the pressure they're under. That's David. He gives us confidence that inside a certain area of the field we're going to get at least three points.''

At UMD, Nadeau also has improved his leg strength, leading Nielson to allow him to attempt more long-distance kicks. This season, seven of his 12 field goals have been 40 yards or longer, including the 55-yarder that set the school record. Nadeau also connected from 47 yards in the victory over Mary and made a 46-yarder in last week's upset of No. 1 Colorado State-Pueblo.

Concentration and repetition have been integral to Nadeau's success, and he believes those qualities are just as critical to the Bulldogs' title defense. If they can perform up to their capabilities and eliminate mistakes, he said, they have a chance to play on -- and perhaps add another highlight to his career.

"We have a chip on our shoulder, because everyone has been saying we're not the same team we had been the last couple of years,'' Nadeau said. "We feel like they've awakened the sleeping giant. We're playing our best football right now, and we're excited to see how far we can take this.''

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Cleveland - WP: C. Allen 4 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: G. Holland 3
Baltimore - LP: W. Chen 0 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: M. Pineda 5
Kansas City - WP: D. Duffy 2 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Carrasco 0
Seattle - LP: J. Paxton 4 FINAL
Toronto - WP: J. Happ 14
Chicago WSox - WP: C. Bassitt 2 FINAL
Detroit - LP: K. Lobstein 0
Pittsburgh - WP: F. Liriano 1 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: A. Harang 0
Houston - LP: N. Tropeano 3 FINAL
Texas - WP: D. Holland 4
St. Louis - WP: A. Wainwright 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: T. Wood 0
Arizona - WP: J. Collmenter 6 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: R. Nolasco 2
LA Angels - LP: C. Wilson 4 FINAL
Oakland - WP: J. Samardzija 8
San Francisco - WP: S. Casilla 5 FINAL
Los Angeles - LP: K. Correia 2
Colorado - LP: T. Matzek 0 FINAL
San Diego - WP: E. Stults 1
Chicago 27 FINAL
NY Jets 19
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Buffalo 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Green Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Tennessee 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Carolina 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Detroit 9/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Tampa Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Miami 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Oakland
Jacksonville 9/28/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Atlanta 9/28/14 3:25 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 9/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
New Orleans 9/28/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Ottawa 2 FINAL
NY Islanders 3
Ottawa 2 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
New Jersey 5 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Detroit 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh 1
Toronto 3 FINAL
Philadelphia 2
Washington 4 FINAL
Philadelphia 5
Minnesota 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
St. Louis 3 FINAL
Dallas 4
Anaheim 5 FINAL
Colorado 2
Colorado 0 FINAL
Anaheim 4
Los Angeles 4 FINAL
Arizona 5
Arizona 3 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pm
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern TBA
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close