After missing the first three field goal attempts of his career last year, Colorado’s Cole Becker spent the rest of the season proving why he won the job as a true freshman.
Still, he wasn’t content.
“I always wanna be perfect,” he said in the spring. “There’s nothing you can really say to me where it’s like, ‘Oh, it’s fine (to miss).’ I’ll always be like, ‘Nah, I should have made it.’ But it was good to go out on a few makes, a couple misses here and there. But it was just good because at the end of the year, I felt like we had finally built up the chemistry as a unit and I felt the trust from my coaches and my teammates, so it was good.”
Trust is a big deal for a kicker and as the Buffaloes go into this season, they know they can trust Becker, now a true sophomore. This summer, BuffZone.com will preview each position group for CU and in this first installment, we look at the specialists.
From the moment Becker got to CU last summer, Buffs’ head coach Karl Dorrell has publicly and privately expressed his belief in Becker, who has a strong leg and came in as one of the nation’s top-rated prep kickers.
“Trust is huge in kicking,” Becker said. “Knowing that your coaches trust you to make it, knowing that you can trust your holder, your snapper; knowing that you can trust the (operation) time. It all comes down to trust.”
Last year, Becker had Derek Bedell as his snapper, with tight end Matt Lynch as the holder.
Bedell is back after two seasons as the primary snapper, but continues to battle Cameron Warchuck for the job. Lynch, however, graduated, so Becker spent the spring working with two different holders: kicker/cornerback Mac Willis and freshman punter Ashton Logan.
“Both are good options, but it’s just getting that chemistry back in with them and getting back to work,” Becker said.
Becker’s work last year was impressive. After the 0-for-3 start, he made 14 of his last 17 field goal attempts. His first attempt of the season was a miss from 53 yards, but he was 3-for-3 from 50-plus the rest of the year, with a long of 56. He also nailed the game-winner in a 37-34 victory against Oregon State.
In addition, Becker was perfect (25-for-25) on extra points and handled kickoff duties, with 29 of his 47 kickoffs resulting in touchbacks.
Coming into this year, Becker feels more comfortable and settled into life as a college student, let alone as a football player. He hopes that results in a better season.
“Having the experiences last year and hitting long ones, short ones; makes, misses, I know all the things that will happen now, so I feel like I’m better prepared for it,” he said.
Logan, meanwhile, will be going through those experiences for the first time.
Josh Watts, one of the top punters in the Pac-12 last year, moved on and Logan finally got a chance to join the Buffs. He was originally part of the 2021 recruiting class, but grayshirted and delayed his enrollment to January.
The lone punter on scholarship, Logan is expected to handle those duties this year.
One of the nation’s top-rated punters in the 2021 class, Logan was the Trinity League special teams player of the year for his senior season in 2020. He averaged 38.5 yards per punt as a senior.
Returners (2021 statistics)
- PK Cole Becker, So, 6-3, 225 (14-of-20 on field goals, 25-of-25 on PAT)
- SN Derek Bedell, So. 6-3, 235 (walk-on)
- P Noah Hubbard, R-Fr., 6-3, 170 (walk-on)
- SN Cameron Warchuck, R-Fr., 6-0, 235 (walk-on)
- PK Mac Willis, So., 6-3, 190 (walk-on)
- P Ashton Logan, Fr., 6-2, 195
- P Trent Carrizosa, Fr., 6-2, 225 (walk-on)
- PK Cristiano Palazzo, R-Fr., 5-9, 185 (walk-on; transfer from Oregon)
- P Josh Watts (47.8 average on 66 punts in 2021)
- PK Evan Price (walk-on; 14-of-16 field goals, 24-of-24 PAT in career)