Thursday, October 10, 2002

Miami's Parseghian making his own name

Legendary coach's kin 6-for-6 on field goals

By Mark Schmetzer
Enquirer contributor

        Miami kicker Jared Parseghian doesn't let his feelings get hurt when the team runs trick plays after scoring touchdowns without inviting him or holder J.D. Vonderheide to participate.

        Really, he doesn't.

        “I don't think we have the athletic ability,” he said. “It would look like a circus act. J.D. and I put on quite a show just trying to recover a fumble. Heck, 300-pound linemen outrun me in the 40.”

        A solid sophomore campaign has allowed Parseghian to stay secure.

        After surviving a rocky three-way battle for the job last season, Parseghian has hit all six of his field goal attempts and 20 of 21 PATs this season and is second in scoring with 38 points for the 4-2 RedHawks. Among his field goals are two from 41 yards, including one against Cincinnati, a yard short of his career best.

        It's a far cry from last season. Miami's kicking picture didn't become clear until the sixth game of the season, when RedHawks coach Terry Hoeppner settled on Parseghian.

        Now a sophomore, Parseghian experienced some ups and downs during the remainder of the 2001 season but has returned this year with a new outlook.

        “He took the winter off, but the good ones come back better than they were when they left. He came back kicking better,” Hoeppner said. “I think it's like golf. You go away from it for a while, and you come back better.”

        Parseghian's last name is bound to draw attention. Ara Parseghian, a former Miami star athlete who coached at Northwestern and Notre Dame, is the brother of Jared's grandfather, Jerry.

        But Jared has perspective.

        “There's a lot of recognition, but I'm trying to make a name for myself,” he said.

        The first recruiting letter he got in high school was hand-written, bearing the name of Miami assistant Jon Wauford. Eventually, Hoeppner promised Parseghian a shot at the starting job.

        Though he struggled early, Parseghian now is reaping the fruit of Hoeppner's confidence.

        “The real turning point (last year) was Marshall,” Parseghian said. “I missed a field goal, but Coach Hoeppner kept me in there. That was the last time I missed a field goal. Every time I missed one before, I'd get bumped from first string to third string. (Marshall) was a major boost to my confidence.”


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