BOISE — Boise State coach Chris Petersen gets the question every year, and sometimes he finds it tough to give just one straight answer.
After the Broncos’ spring scrimmage March 23, he was quick to find one, albeit one that was a bit unexpected.
“I think Dan Goodale has improved as much as anybody on this team since the fall,” Petersen said.
Who, you ask?
Goodale is a walk-on kicker from Timberline High who joined the team last summer. The last fans saw of him, he was struggling in the final fall scrimmage, certainly not helped by high winds.
Thus far in the spring in the competition to replace Brotzman, Goodale’s improvement, and his long, high blasts on field goals, are a far cry from where he was in August.
“He’s been doing a great job, and he’s been what I guess would be the most pleasant surprise to us,” special teams coach Jeff Choate said. “I wouldn’t say he came out of nowhere, but he’s made the most improvement.”
The Broncos will add a scholarship kicker in August in California prep standout Jake Van Ginkel, and Goodale is competing with Jimmy Pavel and Michael Frisina this spring. With the versatile Brotzman departed, opportunities are plentiful for Goodale and his compatriots.
“Back in the fall, I hated it — I was young, nervous, didn’t have much confidence being in there because of injuries,” said the 5-foot-9, 183-pound Goodale. “Knowing I have a chance to get on the field, and knowing I’ve made improvements, the spring is a lot different.”
Simply focusing on being a kicker is new to Goodale, who played receiver and defensive back in addition to his kicking duties, and also was a basketball standout. He only lined up to kick a total of 16 field goals or extra points his senior year with the Wolves, so last fall served as a crash course.
“I’ve been able to be in the weight program, I’ve put on 10 pounds, and it’s the first time I’ve just been able to think about kicking,” Goodale said. “I think it took a few months to really get in the groove.”
The Boise State coaches knew of Goodale through their summer camps, but also knew he had potential through his athleticism (he had 70 receptions in 2009), and averaged 12.3 points per game as a senior in basketball.
“He can dunk, he’s not a real big guy, so you know from that he has some explosiveness,” Choate said. “He’s a competitor, and he has a window of opportunity, he knows it and is trying to seize it.”
Goodale, who hit a 52-yard field goal in the scrimmage and nailed a 50-yarder Wednesday in practice, said part of his improvement is in the simple fact that more is expected of him, unlike last fall, when he redshirted and learn from Brotzman.
“I’ve always been competitive,” Goodale said. “I don’t know if it’s the idea that I have to do well if I want to play or the other guys, but I’m pushing myself to keep getting better.”