OXFORD, Ohio - Kaleb Patterson's collegiate career got off to a rocky start to say the least.
The Miami University freshman missed his first kick against Ohio State on national television from only 24 yards out. Ouch!
But the former Byrnes High School graduate (Duncan, S.C.) has rebounded nicely, making his last four attempts, including two from 45 and 42 yards on the road against Boise State last Saturday.
"You just have to forget about it," Patterson said about his miss vs. the Buckeyes. "That's what I try to do."
The freshman said the best recipe for success is to "just make more" field goals and not let the pressure get to you.
"Kaleb has never lacked for confidence. Even in the first game, he may have missed his first collegiate kick, but he's always battled back," MU special teams coach Matt Edwards said. "He was never rattled by it. He believes in his abilities and he has a lot of confidence. One thing he doesn't lack is confidence."
Patterson is used to kicking big field goals. In high school, he was on a Rebels team that won three state championships, including a runner-up finish his sophomore year. This year, he beat out Miami's returning starter junior Mason Krysinski, who was 2 of 6 in 2011.
"It has been a real eye-opening experience. You always think about it and dream about it, but you're finally here," Patterson said. "It's all just making kicks and staying confident."
Patterson's father, Mark, who was also a place-kicker and punter in college at the University of Georgia, has helped his son battle through the tough times that come with being a D-I kicker.
"He's all the time giving me advice, because he's been my coach my whole life," he said. "(He says), 'Stay straight and hit your spot.' "
Patterson, who has also done his fair share of kickoffs this season for the RedHawks (1-2), has done just that. He's 4 of 5 on field goal attempts through three games.
What's the key to continuing his success?
"Just to focus. Absolute focus," coach Edwards said. "Like any other player, you have to be locked in. You focus on the task at hand and you worry about it one kick at a time. Every time that Kaleb approaches the ball he needs to approach it like the most important kick in his career whether it's in practice or in a big game."
Patterson will play in his first conference game Saturday when Miami opens MAC play against Massachusetts at noon.