Take three steps back and two to the left.
Eye the ball, plant, kick, then follow through.
Every time LSU senior kicker Drew Alleman takes the field to kick a field goal, that’s the routine.
But seven times this season, it wasn’t that easy.
Alleman has missed seven field goals this season after only missing two kicks last season,.
His most recent miss — a 45-yard attempt in the Tigers’ 21-17 loss to Alabama — was a matter of inches, Alleman said.
His last step to the left wasn’t wide enough, and it forced him to pull the ball wide left.
Alleman said his personal kicking coach, Chris Shaw from Kick Nation in Dallas, Texas, was watching on television, recognized the misstep and immediately knew Alleman was going to miss the kick.
“What happens when you cram yourself like that is you plant too deep past the ball, then your hips get ahead of you, and you can’t follow through all the way up the kick,” Shaw said.
Shaw, a former kicker for the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, said he and Alleman have been working together since Alleman’s sophomore year in high school.
Despite the fact Shaw lives in Dallas, the pair talks constantly on the phone throughout the season to discuss Alleman’s progress.
“For Drew, the biggest thing for him is to focus on the little things,” Shaw said. “Sometimes when you’re making 12, 13, 14 or 15 field goals in a row, you forget the little things.”
Alleman said he was forgetting those little things until last week’s 31-17 win against Mississippi State, when he went three for three on field goal attempts, ending a three-game streak with at least one missed field goal.
“All last week, I made sure I got out wide enough, and I made sure I sat on my plant, and that helped me hit a better ball,” Alleman said.
LSU sophomore punter Brad Wing, who is Alleman’s placeholder, said one reason for Alleman’s inconsistency, as well as his own, is the new footballs being used this season.
The NCAA allows kickers to use footballs on kickoffs, punts and place kicks that are different from the regular game balls as long as they meet certain requirements that are checked by officials prior to the start of games.
The balls the pair used last season are no longer being made, so they were forced to switch to a new ball. A different football may not sound significant, but it can change a number of variables in a punt or a place kick, Wing said.
“It’s a little different ball; it flies different,” Alleman said. “It’s something we had to get used to, but then again, we’re not going to blame it on something like a ball.”
Saturday’s game against Ole Miss will be Alleman’s last game in Tiger Stadium, and Alleman said it will be important for him to finish his last home game in an LSU uniform without a miss.
“I’m not going to say I’m perfect,” Alleman said. “I don’t think anybody is perfect, but it’s getting better. I really focused last week big time, and it’s something I have to do for the rest of the year and for the future.”