“College kickers” is a popular refrain on social media whenever a college kicker misses a field goal. The phrase is meant to be a reminder of how unpredictable kickers are in the college game, especially in comparison to the NFL. College kickers have earned their reputation; they do miss more, but they also have a disadvantage over their NFL brethren: hash marks.
In the NFL the hash marks are as wide as the goal posts, so every NFL field goal is essentially a straight shot. Not so in college, wider hashmarks mean kicks often have to start outside the goal posts and be guided back to center. Cincinnati was employing an interesting solution on Friday at BYU. Here is there kick formation.
Notice anything odd? The long snapper is not in the center of the formation. The snapper doesn’t hike the ball straight back. By angle snapping the kicker gains about two yards of leverage. Here is that picture again.
Note also the unbalanced line. Because the ball is being snapped at an angle, the protection has to move in order to avoid a block from the outside. An unbalanced line takes care of this, but it is also the limiting factor for how wide an angle can be used to line the kicker up. The kick still must be protected from rushers off the edge.
This is an innovative approach, and so long as it doesn’t disrupt the kicker himself, expect to see more of this type of set up.