Struggling kicker loses job the same way he won it
LITTLE ROCK -- There's no competition under way for place-kicking duties on the Arkansas football team, coach Houston Nutt says: Chris Balseiro has the job.
What goes around has come around for Arkansas kicker David Carlton.
Nutt said Wednesday that, after Carlton's two missed field goals in Saturday's win at Alabama, Balseiro has replaced Carlton as the team's starting place-kicker on field goals and extra points for the foreseeable future.
Last year, Carlton got the job by kicking a 47-yard field goal to keep Arkansas (4-0, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) alive in a 41-38 six-overtime loss to Tennessee last year. After that kick, Nutt struggled with his decision to play Carlton in the place of the struggling Brennan O'Donohoe, who missed three field goals against the Volunteers.
There was no such uncertainty this week after Carlton missed two kicks from less than 40 yards that could have avoided overtime against Alabama.
"Chris Balseiro right now is our kicker until he proves that he can't do it," Nutt said during Wednesday's SEC coaches' teleconference. "David will help on kickoffs, putting the ball in the end zone, but Chris is the most accurate as of right now."
Carlton, a junior from Tulsa, Okla., injured his left ankle playing pickup basketball the week before the season opener and has missed three of five field-goal attempts in three games since his return.
"The ankle had a lot to do with it," Nutt said. "It's not 100 percent and it really hurt him planting (for kicks). He'll focus on getting better in the off week (this weekend), which is important for all of us."
Balseiro, a sophomore walk-on from Miami who wears the linebacker's number 55, calmly nailed two kicks in a come-from-behind, 34-31 victory over the Crimson Tide. His 19-yard game-winner in the second overtime helped the Razorbacks move up one spot to No. 8 in The Associated Press poll.
Balseiro, who kicked against Tulsa when Carlton was injured, has made 3 of 4 field goals and all nine of his extra points.
Nutt hasn't given up on Carlton completely. He will return to the kickoff specialty duties that helped him crack the lineup, and Nutt said he advised Carlton to keep his head in the game.
"It's not that it's over; nothing is ever over," Nutt said. "I had a visit with him the other day and told him football is so much like life. It has highs and lows. No one wanted to miss that field goal. I know David didn't want to miss two chip shots. But you just gotta be on."
Arkansas' next game will be against Auburn (2-2, 1-0) on Oct. 11 in Fayetteville.
This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index
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