When you're stuck with a freshman kicker on NCAA Football on PlayStation, he's usually rated a 59 or something worse and you're lucky if he can stick a 40-yarder. With the wind. In practice mode. Let's hope for Ryan Lichtenstein's sake, he's not a 59.
Yes the Lichtensteining of Syracuse Football has begun. Freshman walk-on Ryan, the only placekicker currently on the roster, is quickly adjusting to the fact that, sooner or later, he will have to perform in the most pressure-packed situation possible in front of all of his teammates, opponents and fans and the outcome of which will influence how he is perceived for a long time. No biggie...
Lichtenstein (pronounced LICK-tin-steen) struggled significantly at the start of camp, making Raupers all the more entrenched. Lichtenstein said he had problems getting used to his helmet and pads. Yet Liechtenstein hung in there, got comfortable and began kicking stronger and with more consistency. Throughout the week, he has continued to improve.
The Orange have a safety net in All-World punter Rob Long, who one would assume will take on kick-off duties and can always step in to attempt a field goal out of Lichtenstein's range.
So who is this kid, why is he a walk-on and how did we end up with him? He turned down walk-on offers from Minnesota (ahem) and Boston College before deciding to attend SU. You can thank Dan Conley for that.
Ultimately, there was another school talking to Lichtenstein as far back as March. It was Syracuse and assistant coach Dan Conley, who recruits the Pittsburgh area. Monroeville is 10 to 15 minutes outside the city.
"They told me that if you can get in here, maybe walk on," Lichtenstein said. "I said, OK. If I have a good opportunity to play, I'll come. So I though it over and it looked like the better opportunity to play."
Take a moment to watch Ryan in action and commence getting your hopes up. We won't really know what Lichtenstein is made of until he's on the field with :01 left on the clock and the Orange are down 2 (hopefully not to Maine). In the meantime, it sounds like he'll be ready.
|Syracuse football's Ryan Lichtenstein and Rob Long|