25 Michigan keys: Day 2
Posted by Chris Burke August 06, 2008 02:13AM
Categories: U-M Football
Key #2 to the Michigan season: K.C. Lopata's continued consistency
K.C. Lopata was sort of an after thought in the post-Garrett Rivas kicking days. But man, did Lopata catch some people off guard in 2007.
All he did after taking over for Jason Gingell on a permanent basis was nail 11-of-12 FG attempts - including five games with two makes each. His only miss was a 48-yard attempt against Ohio State.
Lopata enters the 2008 season as the unquestioned No. 1 placekicker on this team. He doesn't have a huge leg, but he appears to have that Rivas-like consistency that just gets the job done. Michigan needs him to continue his 2007 momentum into this year. The options behind him - Gingell and Bryan Wright - are limited. We've seen what Gingell can do, and Wright has slipped into exclusively handling kickoff duties.
Lopata may find himself with plenty of chances to line up those FGs, too. If Michigan struggles to get into the end zone - a distinct possibility, at least early in the season - the Wolverines may have to turn to the kicking game to get some points on the board.
Can Lopata turn in another steady season? There's really no reason to expect otherwise. He should be stronger and more confident heading into the 2008 campaign. Of course, there is always the possibility of a slump. It's not out of the question for any kicker, let alone a guy that the Michigan staff kept down the depth chart until game six last season.
The Wolverines need the 2008 version of Lopata to look exactly like the 2007 version - steady and consistent - from day one.