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Indiana football in midst of very important kicking battle during fall camp: ‘We have points on the line and that is absolutely critical’



Freshman Nicolas Radicic (39) is among the Indiana football players in competition for the kicking spot throughout fall camp. (Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times-USA TODAY NETWORK)

The Indiana football program is in the midst of a three-way kicking battle heading into the final stretch of fall camp and it’s been an inconsistent past few weeks from the trio.

Freshman Nicolas Radicic, redshirt junior Chris Freeman and redshirt sophomore Alejandro Quintero are all battling it out this fall for a combination of field goals, extra points and kickoff duties. The expectation is Freeman, who handled kickoff duties in 2022, will do the same again this season. But, there is still a lot to be desired from the rest of the room.

“I did not feel like we got what we wanted out of [the kickers] on Saturday. That’s an area that’s definitely an area of emphasis for us right now,” Indiana head coach Tom Allen said following the first scrimmage. “Not to our standard this past weekend. Those guys know that.”

Fast forward to this week and Indiana special teams coach Kasey Teegardin felt much better about where that group was.

“Chris (Freeman) has done a better much job recently in the past week and a half, really coming together. Alex (Quintero) has been serviceable, as well. So, I feel really good about where we’re at right now moving forward with those three guys and it’s exciting to see.

“It is light years where it was two weeks ago. Between Chris and Nico, they’ve separated themselves a bit.”

Radicic came to Indiana looking to fill the shoes left after the transfer of Charles Campbell. While he’s just a true freshman, he was labeled as a five-star kicker from Kohl’s Kicking and has the talent to be a valuable asset to the Hoosiers this season.

After some shakiness early in fall camp and an injury that kept him out of the first scrimmage, he is now starting to break through.

“He’s got a chip on his shoulder. The thing I’ll give Nico a lot of credit for is he’s an extremely confident, young man. Very pleased with him so far.” Teegardin said. “He is a freshman. You try to build it and bring him along slowly and adapt him into the environment because it’s going to be different. He comes from a big-time high school that plays some really good football down in Texas. He’s kicked in the All-American game so he’s been in pressure situations which you love. We’re going to put him in pressure situations (in camp), we put him in one today and he answered the call, which is what you expect.”

Indiana was 10th in the league in scoring last season. Indiana struggled late in the season converting in the redzone as well, with just a 74.4 percent conversation rate. The Hoosiers ranked 13th in both conversation rate and also field goal percentage in the redzone, just 10-of-14 on the season.

In total, Indiana ranked 11th in field goal kicking in the Big Ten, finishing 14-of-20 for the season.

Everyone within the Indiana football program understands the importance of the position heading into 2023.

“It’s different when you’re kicking in Memorial Stadium. So you’ve got to try to continue to just out-execute it, get their confidence built. It’s gonna come with the preparation that we’re giving them,” Teegardin said. “You tell them you’ve been doing this, you’ve done this. You just keep hammering it home with them and it’ll show up on September 2, I’m confident in that.

“We have points on the line and that is absolutely critical.”

SEE ALSO: Kasey Teegardin discusses Indiana football kicking competition, standouts in fall camp

Alec Lasley is the owner of Hoosier Illustrated, a comprehensive site covering news, updates and recruiting for Indiana University athletics. Alec has covered Indiana for six years and is a credentialed media member. He has previously worked for both Rivals and 247Sports.