AMES — On a Monday filled with news, the fact that there’s a competition for the top placekicker spot falls into the realm of the fully expected.
ISU junior Cole Netten — an honorable mention All-Big 12 selection last season — has obviously struggled in 2015. He’s 7-for-12 on field goals, including a 32-yard miss at Toledo that could have won the game in regulation. He missed an extra point in last week’s 45-27 loss at No. 2 Baylor, and also failed to produce a viable onside kick.
So now redshirt freshman walk-on Chris Francis is in the mix — and could wrestle the position away from Netten, who entered the season 24 of 32 (75 percent) on career field goal tries.
“He knows that he has not performed for this football team this season," Cyclones coach Paul Rhoads said of Netten. "Nobody feels that pain more than Cole. We are working hard to get through that from a confidence level and a skill level – a skill set that he possesses that we need to see displayed."
Rhoads said Francis will work with the No. 1s on Monday, then Netten will be with the No. 1s on Tuesday. Wednesday, more situational kicking will be executed by both. Francis is 1-for-1 on extra point attempts in his career. He has yet to attempt a field goal.
During Saturday’s loss, Rhoads took some extra time to talk to Netten on the sideline.
"I wanted to make sure that he was all right," Rhoads said. "He is a great kid – a tremendous kid and he does things tremendously well off the field. He is extremely dedicated to his academics. He is a great teammate. He has never wanted to be associated with the kickers or the specialists groups. He wants to be out there doing the team stuff that everybody does.”