Hartman: U's Wettstein learns kicking on the job

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 6, 2012 - 7:07 AM

The senior, who never had kicked in a football game before joining the Gophers in 2010, was clutch vs. UNLV.

Jordan Wettstein, the senior who kicked three field goals, including the game-winner in the Gophers' 30-27 three-overtime victory over UNLV on Thursday, never had kicked in high school or in any type of competitive football game until he walked on at Minnesota and sold former football coach Tim Brewster on giving him an opportunity.

"I've always wanted to [kick], it's always been a dream of mine," said Wettstein, a graduate of De Pere High School in Wisconsin. "I've always loved watching the ball go through the uprights.

"I came in when the old coaching staff was here and I said, 'I'd love to kick a football.' I came in and kicked for three different coaches the first week of school and unfortunately their roster was filled up with three kickers already. They asked me to come back in the spring, and I said, 'Absolutely.' I came and kicked in the spring, and they asked me to join the team."

Wettstein recalled his conversation with a Gophers assistant coach when he was allowed to join the team in the spring of 2010.

"I said, 'No coach, I've never kicked in a game before.' ... I'll never forget the first practice, I didn't even know how to put my helmet on. From there until now, it has been a dream come true with [current Gophers] Coach [Jerry] Kill giving me the opportunity. Hopefully I can take advantage of that. I can't thank him enough for that."

A year ago Wettstein got his chance to be the team's placekicker for the final six games of the season and did not waste the chance. He went a perfect 6-for-6 on field-goal attempts, including a 51-yarder against Illinois.

So Kill has complete confidence in Wettstein handling field goals and kickoffs this season.

Looking back to Wettstein's performance against UNLV, Kill said: "You know what the great thing about Jordan's situation is, is that he missed a field goal early in the game and then he comes back and hits all the critical kicks in overtime.

"That's the thing that we have not, since I've been here -- I can't speak to any other time [in program history] -- but we haven't been really good at fighting back or overcoming things or hanging in a game and going on to win it. If there's a positive about UNLV, it's being able to come back the way we did when things didn't go our way and win the game.

"I think that will build us confidence that we can do that later on down the road. You win it by four touchdowns and maybe we think we're pretty good, and we're not good enough yet."

Kill said Wettstein's ability to mentally bounce back is "a great lesson for all our kids. You have to go on to the next play. If you make a mistake, you can't worry about the last play, go to the next play. Hopefully our kids have learned that. Winning that way is sometimes not a bad way to do it, but we don't want to do it every week, that's for sure."

Peterson speculation

The speculation continues about whether Vikings running back Adrian Peterson will play Sunday at home against Jacksonville. Peterson continues to practice but hasn't scrimmaged. It appears Peterson will not play unless he can convince coach Leslie Frazier that he is 100 percent healthy.

I don't think Peterson will play unless his presence late in the game will mean winning or losing to the Jaguars.

After going 3-13 last year, the Vikings can't afford to start this season by losing at home to a team that finished 5-11 in 2011.

Jottings

• According to Forbes Magazine, securing a new stadium has elevated the value of the Vikings franchise to $975 million -- a 22 percent increase over the previous value of $760.5 million a year ago while playing in the Metrodome. The Vikings franchise is valued at 22nd in the league, behind all other NFC North teams except the Lions at $855 million. ... The Cowboys, who are valued at No. 1 at $2.1 billion, are listed at having $500 million in income compared with the Vikings' $227 million, along with an operating income of $226.7 million compared with the Vikings' $7.2 million.

• The Gophers are predicting ticket sales of 42,000 for Saturday's home football opener with New Hampshire. However, look for maybe 7,000 no-shows who have tickets but aren't interested in watching the Gophers play New Hampshire. So 35,000 is a good guess for Saturday. Some 3,100 student tickets had been sold as of Wednesday, plus 5,500 freshmen were given free tickets to the student section for Saturday's game.

• The Vikings, who have around 7,000 tickets to sell for the Jacksonville game, will have players giving out free tickets for the game this week at the Mall of America.

• Kill said there is a reason why senior Troy Stoudermire had a rough game against UNLV, being called for two serious penalties and dropping a punt that led to a UNLV score.

"I think you have to understand, Troy has truly played five games at corner and then he never played last year," Kill said. "He played two or three ballgames and hadn't played. We had a lot of kids who truly haven't played in a college football game. Troy will rebound and get back, hopefully get that out of the system and move forward. He's competitive enough, he'll do that."

• The Gophers football team starts every practice with a prayer for Gary Tinsley, the former Gophers linebacker who died because of an enlarged heart in April.

• The Gophers men's basketball team can now practice two hours each week until the actual season opener for full practices on Oct. 12. Coach Tubby Smith has divided the two hours and is working one-third of it three days a week.

In Wednesday's drills Mo Walker, the redshirt sophomore forward who has been idle because of injuries the past two years, went full speed. However sixth-year senior forward Trevor Mbakwe, who is still rehabbing his knee after surgery in December, was limited in contact and spent most of his time during the practice lifting weights.

• It's unusual for St. John's football coach John Gagliardi to have transfers, but this year the Johnnies have five, including wide receiver Peter Vakulskas of Chaska, who transferred from Augustana, and Edward Vasquez, a defensive lineman who played at Los Angeles Harbor College.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. shartman@startribune.com

  • related content

  • Thieren Cockran (55) celebrated with Jordan Wettstein (39) at the end...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Team Irvin 32 FINAL
Team Carter 28
Miami 96 FINAL
Chicago 84
Oklahoma City 98 FINAL
Cleveland 108
Dallas 106 FINAL
New Orleans 109
Indiana 106 FINAL
Orlando 99
LA Clippers 120 FINAL
Phoenix 100
Minnesota 100 FINAL
Atlanta 112
Detroit 110 FINAL
Toronto 114
Milwaukee 95 FINAL
San Antonio 101
Boston 111 FINAL
Golden State 114
Washington 117 FINAL
Denver 115
Houston 99 FINAL
LA Lakers 87
Team Toews 17 FINAL
Team Foligno 12
South Florida 53 FINAL
Connecticut 66
Boston College 64 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Virginia 50 FINAL
Virginia Tech 47
Indiana 70 FINAL
Ohio State 82
Stony Brook 61 FINAL
Binghamton 54
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
UCF 46
Maine 70 FINAL
Hartford 61
Monmouth 64 FINAL
Manhattan 71
Fairfield 67 FINAL
Marist 73
Rowan 48 FINAL
Princeton 96
St Bonaventure 48 FINAL
Rhode Island 53
Duke 77 FINAL
St Johns 68
Saint Peters 69 FINAL
Siena 55
Drake 40 FINAL
Wichita State 74
Vermont 61 FINAL
UMass Lowell 50
Seton Hall 57 FINAL
Butler 77
NJIT 72 FINAL
South Alabama 55
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Illinois State 53
Louisville 80 FINAL
Pittsburgh 68
UMBC 55 FINAL
Albany 69
Niagara 64 FINAL
Iona 87
Notre Dame 81 FINAL
NC State 78
Belmont 63 FINAL
Tennessee St 55
Creighton 50 FINAL
Villanova 71
Northwestern 67 FINAL
Maryland 68
Washington 56 FINAL
Utah 77
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 99 FINAL
Georgetown 85
St Johns 69 FINAL
Villanova 81
Arkansas 58 FINAL
Florida 72
Maine 56 FINAL
UMBC 42
Vanderbilt 55 FINAL
Alabama 52
Lafayette 60 FINAL
Lehigh 65
UCF 61 FINAL
SMU 57
Utah 51 FINAL
Washington 63
James Madison 73 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 53
Delaware 56 FINAL
Drexel 61
Hofstra 56 FINAL
William & Mary 57
Hartford 58 FINAL
Albany 82
Binghamton 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Towson 63 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 71
Wake Forest 80 FINAL
(17) Florida State 110
Georgia Tech 68 FINAL
Virginia 62
(22) Georgia 51 FINAL
(5) Tennessee 59
Drake 79 FINAL
Evansville 62
Iona 80 FINAL
Canisius 62
Fairfield 33 FINAL
Monmouth 59
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Penn State 76
Wisconsin 71 FINAL
Michigan State 77
Ohio State 79 FINAL
Purdue 71
Northern Iowa 57 FINAL
Indiana State 55
Butler 58 FINAL
Xavier 54
Creighton 93 FINAL
Marquette 75
Providence 42 FINAL
DePaul 90
Northeastern 77 FINAL
Elon 80
(2) Connecticut 96 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Oregon 78 FINAL
Arizona 81
Bradley 46 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 45
NC State 49 FINAL
(23) Syracuse 66
(7) Maryland 84 FINAL
Indiana 74
Illinois State 35 FINAL
Missouri State 58
Colorado 68 FINAL
Washington St 73
Tulane 45 FINAL
South Florida 64
(14) Kentucky 83 FINAL
Missouri 69
(9) Oregon State 68 FINAL
(13) Arizona State 57
Vermont 63 FINAL
UMass Lowell 72
Iowa State 58 FINAL
(8) Texas 57
Southern Ill 61 FINAL
Wichita State 80
(15) Duke 74 FINAL
(12) North Carolina 67
Miami-Florida 55 FINAL
(4) Louisville 68
(21) Minnesota 61 FINAL
(25) Rutgers 66
California 72 FINAL
UCLA 57
(11) Stanford 71 FINAL
USC 60
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Do you favor the plan for expanded athletic facilities at the U of M?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close