Tinius pushing to be the best

8 09 2010

Here’s a story from Wednesday’s Daily News featuring former Bowling Green High School standout and current Western Kentucky junior kicker Casey Tinius.

A big-time competitor with a big leg, 2010 could be a breakout year for Tinius.

CLICK HERE

Hunter Wilson/Daily News Western Kentucky’s Casey Tinius kicks a field goal during Saturday’s game against Nebraska at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb.

By NICK BAUMGARDNER

The Daily News

nbaumgardner@bgdailynews.com/783-3239

Casey Tinius thought he’d hit it dead on.

A solid snap, a better hold and a kick that he felt was his best of the year – and more importantly, a boot that might have led to Western Kentucky avoiding an 0-12 season.

But instead of the fairy tale ending, the ball sailed wide right.

“It was one of those ‘it is what it is’ things,” the now junior WKU kicker said. “To be honest, that was one of the best kicks and the best balls I hit all season last year.

“As far as distance and height, it was the best out of the 19 field goals I (attempted) last year, but sometimes, it just doesn’t happen.”

The kick in question came nearly 10 months ago when Tinius’ potentially game-tying 32-yard attempt sailed to the right in a 21-18 Hilltopper loss at Louisiana-Monroe.

It was the closest WKU would come to winning a game last season, and for Tinius, it was a feeling he hoped he’d never have to feel again.

And in embracing that mindset, Tinius says now that it was a miss that’s taken his game to another level.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt that it’s made me better,” said Tinius, who connected on a career-high four field goals during that same game against ULM last November. “I don’t ever want to feel that again. That was a good chance to help our team win. I didn’t do it. I let the team down.

“But now, as far as I’m concerned, that’s not going to happen again this year or next year, either.”

As far as confidence goes, Tinius says the miss hasn’t shaken his. It’s forced him to work even harder to improve his overall game.

His teammates have taken notice, as the former Bowling Green High School standout was selected a team captain prior to last Saturday’s season-opener at Nebraska.

“It was kind of tough for him,” said WKU junior safety Mark Santoro, Tinius’ roommate. “But we all told him to keep his head up, we’re not in that game if he’s not there because he knocked four through and won Sun Belt Player of the Week that week for special teams.

“And he’s been working his butt off this whole offseason. He was out there lifting with us this summer, running with us … and I’m just really excited to see what he can do this year.”

A soccer player by trade – Tinius’ brother, Chris, is in his fourth season as a WKU soccer assistant – it wasn’t until long-time Bowling Green High School coach Kevin Wallace made a visit to a Purples’ soccer practice during his freshman year that Tinius began taking kicks at a pigskin.

“I actually had never even thought about kicking a football until about two games into my freshman year of high school,” said Tinius, who finished his prep career as Bowling Green’s all-time leader in kicking points. “Our (football) kicker was a senior and coach Wallace talked to me at school and asked me to come to a practice. I went over there, found out I was decent at it, they started working with me and (by the next year), I stepped in and had three pretty good years there.

“That whole thing is unbelievable at Bowling Green how those coaches work together. Coach Wallace had no problem with me being there maybe three times a week at practice and (Bowling Green soccer coach Craig Widener) also was on board with it. It was a great situation.”

As a sophomore in 2009, Tinius turned in the sixth-best single-season performance by a Hilltopper kicker by converting on 14 of 19 field goal tries.

And with another year of seasoning under his belt, coach Willie Taggart is hoping that Tinius can now enter the same conversation as former WKU kicking standouts, such as Chris James and Peter Martinez.

“Casey’s a great kid, a great competitor and Casey wants to be great,” Taggart said. “A lot of what happened last year, he put on a lot of it on himself – not that he had to, but that’s just how he is. He’s a team player that wants to be out here to help his team.

“He was hurt throughout camp and I could tell it was really bothering him, but he’s back … He helped us put some points on the board last week (against Nebraska) and he’s going to help us out a lot this year.”

While it was a miss that helped push Tinius to another level this summer, the junior kicker says that it’s an omission that he’ll use to push him to the next level. He was absent from the preseason All-Sun Belt team.

Tinius has no intention of slowing down until he’s recognized as the best kicker in the Sun Belt, he says.

And while that wide-right miss at Louisiana-Monroe has since been forgotten, Tinius says that there’s no fear going forward, and he’s not resting until every kick he makes splits the uprights with perfection.

“Last year is last year,” Tinius said. “Being the competitor that I am, I’m not going to be second-best. My goal every game, and every day, is to go out and be perfect – every day.”

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