Syracuse received some crushing news this weekend that kicker Ross Krautman is retiring from football due to a nagging hip injury that forced him to miss almost all of last season. Krautman was a redshirt senior who was granted a medical redshirt before deciding to call it quits.
Krautman is one of the best placekickers in program history, highlighted by making 18 of 19 field goals his freshman year. He also had a streak of 16 consecutive field goals made. However his chronic hip injury clearly started to affect his play and eventually led to surgery.
This puts the Syracuse kicking game in a very unpredictable spot for the 2014 campaign. Ryan Norton, who has had several off-field incidents, went 10-of-15 on field goals last year after being handed the role after Krautman’s injury. Norton was brought into Syracuse originally to focus on kickoffs but will be asked to switch his attention to the goalposts. Yes, Norton did get experience from last year and might have seen this scenario coming in the offseason. However, he is not a sure thing on or off the field. It will also be interesting to see how uncertainty in the kicking game will affect play-calling on fourth downs.
Even more bad news for the Orange is that there is not another scholarship placekicker besides Norton. Alex Hodgkinson and Cole Murphy are both walk-ons and now have a golden opportunity to fill a huge void if they can impress this month. Hey, both might have even gained some motivation prior to this announcement after seeing how Riley Dixon transformed from a walk-on to breaking school punting records.
If there is any silver lining to this announcement, at least the team knows they will be without Krautman before the season starts instead of two weeks into the season like last year. This should give Norton time to get serious about adjusting to the position permanently and staying out of trouble off the gridiron.
With all the chips in on Norton to step up after Krautman’s retirement from the game, the Orange will have to rely on the Garden City product to lead the kicking game.
Posted by: Zephan Mayell