South Carolina’s coaches never seriously considered replacing Parker White as the freshman place-kicker struggled down the stretch despite having Alexander Woznick, another freshman who opened the season as the starter, on the bench.
“Not really,” Gamecocks special teams coordinator Coleman Hutzler said. “Once we made the move, we were going to stick with Parker through the way.”
Woznick, a five-star kicking prospect at the Chris Sailer Kicking academy, took the first three field goal attempts of the season, missing two of them. He was then replaced by White, a walk-on from Mount Pleasant, who finished the season 14-of-25. White was 10-of-11 from inside 40 yards and 4-of-14 from beyond 40 yards.
“We still felt like he was hitting a good ball from 40 and in, just got in those long distance situations and he struggled,” Hutzler said.
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This spring, White and Woznick again are competing for the starting spot with the added wrinkle that graduate transfer Shane Hynes, who has been offered a scholarship, will arrive this fall.
“We are going to chart everything through the spring and chart everything through fall camp and name a guy for the first game,” Hutzler said. “They have approached it the right way. They understand the struggles we had a year ago. We need to do better. They have had the right mentality through winter workouts, through the first five practices of spring practice.”
Hynes is transferring from Kent State, where he was 9-of-15 last year.
“It’s an open competition,” Hutzler said. “We have to get the field goal thing situated and sorted out, but I know we will. It’s the whole unit, it really is. Sometimes it’s this, sometimes it’s that, and unfortunately when it rains, it pours a little bit, I think. As a unit, we have to execute better and that’s the bottom line.”