The common perception of a kicker is a scrawny, quirky, guy that doesn’t really associate with the “real” football players much. And if you look at Ball State senior Steven Schott from afar, with his bushy long hair, he definitely appears to have the quirky part down pat. But his coach disputes that.
“I would definitely put (Schott) in the normal category,” Cardinal coach Pete Lembo said. “He’s a normal guy. He’s got this long hair thing going, I kid him that he looks like Jim Morrison. He’ll probably have to change that once this season is over and he starts interviewing for jobs. But he’s a regular guy and he’s a really fun guy to be around.”
Ball State (2-1) hosts South Florida (2-1) today at 4:30 p.m. (ESPN3).
Everyone can be “fun” to be around when things are going well and that absolutely describes Schott. Last week he ran out onto the field at Indiana University with one tick left on the clock and his team trailing 39-38 and all he did was do his job.
He booted a 42-yard field goal for the second game-winning kick in his Cardinal career.
“When I was talking to Steve on the sideline when that last drive was going on,” Lembo explained, “I just kept telling him that it was another day at the office. Let’s go out and have some fun and do what you do. You are going to your shot to be the hero and this is where you want to be.”
It’s not only where Schott wanted to be, but it was where Lembo wanted to be as well, relying on his kicker.
“When it comes to my interaction with Steven, you have to trust those guys,” Lembo said. “You can’t micromanage those guys. You have to treat them like anybody else on the team. I don’t claim to be an expert in what they do, so I don’t want to do anything to upset the apple cart when it comes to their psyche.”
Over his five seasons (he redshirted his first season) in Muncie, Schott has become another in a long line of reliable and talented kickers to play for the Cardinals. He has connected on 50 consecutive extra points (14 more and he’ll be the all-time best in Ball State history) and has kicked 23 field goals for the program, including 17 of 18 from inside 40 yards.
This season, Schott has taken his accuracy and length to new levels. He has made both of his field goal attempts from outside 50 yards, and his 52-yarder against Eastern Michigan would’ve been good from 60 yards.
“That is just more evidence of the impact that (strength coach) Dave Feeley has had on our football program,” Lembo said. “Even when you look at specialists and guys that are in positions where you would think that strength and conditioning wouldn’t have as glaring of an effect, you are even seeing a difference with those guys. Like everybody else, Steven has another year under his belt in that strength and conditioning program and you are seeing him hit field goals from five, six, or seven yards longer than we would’ve been comfortable with last year. It’s really encouraging.”