We are officially just a few days away from the New Year, and a lot has changed since the beginning of 2018.
For me, personally, a lot has changed, but things have also changed, for the better, for Michigan football.
The Wolverines have a great quarterback room, led by Shea Patterson. They also made some great assistant coaching hires, including Ed Warinner who has completely turned the offensive line around.
Another notable difference from 2017 to 2018 is the special teams unit. Punting under Will Hart has been fantastic this season compared to last season.
Perhaps the one constant from last year to this year has been the kicking situation. Quinn Nordin started his career off with a bang against Florida in Week 1 of the 2017 season, nailing three field goals from 50 or more yards away, a school record. He was deemed “Wild Thing” due to his haircut he got that looked awfully familiar to Ricky Vaughn’s in Major League. He was sure to be the next great U-M kicker.
Now, “Wild Thing” is a thing of the past.
Moody took over for Nordin in the Indiana game, where Moody promptly set a school record by going 6-for-6 on field goal tries. He also set a school kicking record by scoring 19 points in a single game.
Nordin has the leg strength of an NFL kicker, but he has been wildly inconsistent over his two-year career so far with the Wolverines. Leading up to the Indiana game, he missed two field goals against Wisconsin, one against Michigan State and had one blocked against Penn State, a team that also rattled him a season ago in Happy Valley.
On the season, Nordin is 11-of-16 on field goal tries with a long of 50 yards. There is no denying he has a cannon for a leg, but having a strong mentality is just as important. At the moment, Moody is better in that department. Having Moody be the starter — especially after going 6-for-6 against Indiana and 2-for-2 against Ohio State — is an easy choice for Harbaugh and special teams coach Chris Partridge.
The one potential issue here is we are not sure how big of a leg Moody has. His longest field goal was from 39 yards, so his leg power has yet to be tested. I’m sure he has made much longer in practice before, but that is just practice. Nailing a long-distance field goal against Florida would go a long way at easing the worries of some in the fan base, myself included.
Regardless, having Moody be the guy is the right move. He is a perfect 8-for-8 on field goals and hasn’t missed an extra point. As they say, you gotta roll with the hot hand.
Who should be Michigan’s starting kicker?
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