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Griz add Kicker!


Well-known member
Former Sooners signee set to join UM

By JON KASPER of the Missoulian

Malta kicker Josh Roberts will practice with Griz this spring

Josh Roberts is no longer property of the Oklahoma Sooners. That's good news for Roberts and the Montana Grizzlies.

Roberts, an all-state place-kicker and punter from Malta, is enrolled in classes at the University of Montana and recently received a "qualified release" from the national letter of intent he signed with Oklahoma in February of 2002.

The 6-foot, 165-pound walk-on can compete during spring practice, but might not be game-eligible until the 2004 season.

Roberts' situation is a bit complicated because he never enrolled in classes at Oklahoma. Roberts decided at the last minute not to play for the Sooners. Instead, he moved to New York to live with his brother.

"Among the provisions of a letter of intent is a one-year attendance requirement,'' said UM compliance coordinator James Bandy. "The student must attend an institution he or she signed the letter of intent with for one year. If the student does not do that - as in Josh's case - the student is subject to a loss of two seasons of eligibility.''

Because Oklahoma gave Roberts a "qualified release," he'll be penalized a maximum of one year. Montana is currently petitioning the National Letter of Intent Steering Committee in hopes of restoring Roberts' full four years of eligibility.

"Based on what I know, I think it has a very good chance of going through,'' Bandy said.

Roberts, a second team All-America pick by USA Today, surprised the Oklahoma coaching staff last fall when he failed to arrive for the start of camp. Roberts was expected to contend for a starting spot. Roberts said he suffered an injury to the adductor muscles in his kicking leg and would not have been able to play for the Sooners last fall.

"The doctor said the outlook wasn't good,'' Roberts said. "It was similar to an injury I had about a year before and it took over sixth months to heal.

"About a week before (leaving for Oklahoma) it really hit me hard. I couldn't jog and I certainly couldn't kick. It seemed like from what the doctor told me I'd just be sitting for quite awhile. It would have put me behind and I didn't feel good about using their money for an education when I wasn't contributing to the football program.''

Roberts, who maintained a 3.8 GPA in high school, said he tried to call Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops to inform him of his decision. Roberts said he sent the staff a letter. The letter arrived after Oklahoma's newcomers began practice.

"That's something I still question,'' Roberts said. "I did make an attempt to call, but I didn't call enough. We sent them a letter and the letter should have gotten there before the schedule date."

Roberts also said he had issues with Oklahoma recruiting coordinator Bobby Jack Wright.

"Some of it was the recruiting coach,'' Roberts said. "I take responsibility for the way I handled it. It wasn't the best way. But there were some things not with Coach (Bob) Stoops, but with another coach. There were some things he said happened that weren't true. Naturally (Stoops) is going to trust his recruiting coach over me. I know I could have handled things differently.''

The Missoulian sent a written request seeking an interview with Stoops. Stoops did not reply.

"Oklahoma was very cooperative in the venture,'' Bandy said. "Given the situation, they easily could have said we're not going to help the kid.''

Roberts said he and Stoops talked a couple of weeks ago.

"I did make contact with him and he did give me a release,'' Roberts said.

Roberts said he's eager to put the Oklahoma episode behind him and concentrate on school and getting back in a kicking groove. Roberts said he's only kicked once since last summer, but added his leg is feeling "pretty good.''

Chris Snyder, a two-time all-conference kicker, will be a senior for UM next fall. If Roberts is eligible, he could compete for the open punting job and give the Griz a backup to Snyder. Roberts averaged 42 yards per punt his senior season.

"I'm hoping to be able to do anything I can,'' Roberts said.

Roberts graduated as the state leader in career field goals (33) and extra points (146). He kicked a 51-yard field goal his senior season and 85 percent of his kickoffs went through the end zone. Roberts kicked three field goals, including a 40-yarder, in Montana's win over North Dakota in the 2002 Badlands Bowl.

Montana coach Bobby Hauck could not be reached for comment.
This is a good deal. I hope this kid works out and can dust off the rust real quick! We always need good kickers. Think about how many games we have won or lost due to good or bad kickers! I'll help you with a few.

We Won Becuase of FGs-
-National Championship 1995
-Montana State 1997

Games we lost by 3 or less, in which we missed FG(s)
-MSU 2002
-Georgia Southern 2000
-Youngstown State 1999....they went on to the NC...we were the better team.
-Portland State 1998
-Idaho 1999
-Hofstra 2000

Games we won, but made it more difficult due do missed FGs
-Ewu 2001

Well...you get the idea. :wink:
I was at the Idaho game in 1999 and remember it well. What I remember is about 6 turnovers that just killed the Griz on critical drives. A missed field goal would have made the difference, but it was the 6 turnovers that put the team in the position in the first place.

Hope this kid can heal up and play injury free though. I have been impressed by the quality of the recruiting the Griz did this year with the 1-A talent that came to play for the Griz.