BOWLING GREEN -- Both Stephen Stein and Tyler Tate are used to dealing with pressure.
Both are kickers on the Bowling Green State University football team, and for kickers the pressure is constant. In a typical game kickers don't get many opportunities to produce, and mistakes can cost the team points -- not to mention victories.
So the competition for the job kicking field goals and extra points for the Falcons this season is a type of pressure both have felt before.
"[Pressure] is something you have to get used to," said Tate, a redshirt freshman. "If you miss a kick, you can become a scapegoat.
"You just have to do the same thing in games that you do in practice."
Stein agreed, adding, "Everybody else gets 40 or 50 plays, and if they mess up they just go to the next play. If a kicker messes up, it's lost points -- and you get yelled at."
BG coach Dave Clawson said Thursday the winner of the kicking job has not been determined.
"Three of the four major decisions have been made," he said. "Brian Schmiedebusch is our punter, Corey Johnson is our long snapper, and Anthony Farinella will handle kickoffs.
"There continues to be a battle between Stephen Stein and Tyler Tate for the PAT-field goal job. We'll let that play out."
Stein took over as the team's placekicker midway through last season because of his consistency, making 24-of-25 PATs-- including his last 24 in a row starting with the win at Miami. He also connected on 7-of-11 field-goal attempts, but did not make a kick longer than 39 yards.
"I just have to go out there and make my kicks to prove to the coaches I'm the right man for the job," Stein said when asked about having to reclaim the position.
Tate redshirted last season because of a groin injury.
"I didn't like [redshirting] at the time, to be honest, but in hindsight it probably was good for me," Tate admitted. "It helped me get bigger and stronger and work on my technique.
"It probably was good for me, but at the time it wasn't fun."
Clawson said both kickers bring positives to the competition.
"Stephen Stein has a very natural stroke," Clawson said. "He gets the ball up quickly, and it has a very natural rotation.
"Tyler Tate has a stronger leg. If it's a longer field goal, his ball seems to have a lot of pop."
Clawson said deciding between the two kickers will come down to several factors.
"A lot of it is numbers, and we keep track of every kick that they make," Clawson said. "But a lot of it comes down to a gut decision.
"We'd like to get it settled, but they've both been very competitive. And they're both better than anyone we had last year."
Hopgood to miss Florida contest
Jordan Hopgood has been suspended for one game for a violation of team rules, the school announced Thursday.
The junior running back will miss the Falcons' season opener at Florida on Sept. 1.
Hopgood was arrested on Aug. 17 and has been charged with furnishing alcohol to a person who is underage. He is scheduled to appear in Bowling Green Municipal Court today.
Hopgood played nine games last season, missing the final three because of a knee injury that limited his availability much of the season. He carried the ball 60 times for 213 yards and four touchdowns while catching seven passes for 53 yards.
In 2010 he had 167 rushing yards and six TDs while adding 10 receptions for 60 yards.
Contact John Wagner at: email@example.com, 419-724-6481, or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.
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