Over the last four seasons, field goals have typically been stress-free for Kentucky.
Austin MacGinnis was one of the best kickers in Kentucky Football history and someone that could be relied on every week.
This year, the Wildcats have missed him arguably more than any departed player from a season ago. Miles Butler simply hasn’t done the job. The senior is perfect on point after attempts, but he has struggled to make field goals.
From 30-39 yards out, he is just 1/2. From 40-49 yards out, Butler is just 1/3. His worst miss of the year came in overtime against Texas A&M. His 43-yard kick that would’ve given the Cats the lead went off the crossbar, all but killing any hope Kentucky had of winning.
It’s no secret that Butler just doesn’t have the leg strength to accurately kick the ball from long range. True freshman Chance Poore has more leg strength. He just hasn’t gotten the chance to kick in games yet as Kentucky is trying to redshirt him.
On whether to send out Poore for that overtime kick, Mark Stoops even admitted that was considered before the Texas A&M game.
“I was debating (sending Poore in to attempt the kick). It was right on that cusp. I’m comfortable with Miles till about 44,” said Stoops after the loss.
The fact, that Stoops even had to think who to send out to kick means Butler cannot be trusted.
Prior to departing for College Station, Stoops told reporters “we have a lot of confidence in Miles. He’s going to do a good job, but we still have that opportunity on some longer field goals to use.”
This proves when it comes to longer kicks, Poore deserves a shot.
Butler has shown that, beyond 40 yards, he does not have much range. This puts far more pressure on the offense to get the ball inside the 20 every drive, which is problematic, especially after how much they struggled against the Aggies.
The main reason for Poore not taking over kicking duties is to preserve a fifth year of eligibility.
With Poore only being able to play four games to preserve a redshirt season and there being six regular season games and a bowl game remaining, it heats up the debate.
When asked during his Monday meeting with the media about the possibility of Poore playing in one of the remaining six games, Stoops left the door ajar.
“There’s an opportunity there. I’m not sure when or where, but yes, there’s an opportunity.”
You could make an argument that Kentucky needs to rip the redshirt off and give Poore the job. This is the year for Kentucky Football. They have as good a chance as ever to win the SEC East, and the team has earned the right to be put in the best place to win each game.
Does Poore gives them a better chance than Butler as this point in time?
Maybe, and if he does, Kentucky needs to move to him now and not wait until there’s only four games left, including a possible SEC Championship and a premium bowl game. That’s two games right there, which means the only other games Poore could theoretically kick in would be Middle Tennessee and Louisville if Kentucky simply waits to play him until the final four games.
If Kentucky were to miss the SEC Championship, that means they could play him one game sooner, which would be against Tennessee.
But in both of these scenarios, Poore wouldn’t kick at Missouri or at home vs. Georgia, the two games Kentucky needs good kicking in the most.
Who do you want to see at kicker the rest of the season?