This season the Virginia Tech football team has been quite unpredictable, especially redshirt senior kicker Cody Journell.
While Journell's consistency has traditionally been a strength for the team, he's been very shaky this season.
He's missed three field goals and an extra point in his last two games against East Carolina and Georgia Tech. He did not dress for the Marshall game after being suspended for a violation of team rules.
Coming into this season, he completed 36 of 44 kicks for his career, but this year, he has missed five of his last nine attempts.
“We just have to do our job, let Cody do his," said quarterback Logan Thomas. "Obviously we’d love to have the points, but we have to have the mentality that we have to go score touchdowns."
About a year ago, Journell kicked a game-winning field goal against Georgia Tech in the team's season opener.
But with his recent faulty record, it was unclear as to whether or not Journell would come through this season in the ACC opener.
During the game, Journell had two opportunities to come back strong, connecting on a 39-yard field goal with ten minutes left in the fourth quarter to give the Hokies a seven point lead.
Although he got off to a strong start, Journell missed a short 25-yard field goal with five minutes left that could've put the game out of reach for the Yellow Jackets.
“What you worry about is when it’s a bad miss. Cody said he thought he had it so I guess it was just left of the bar. I thought it was good when I saw it,” said head coach Frank Beamer.
Journell himself insists that the miss wasn't as bad as people made it out to be.
“It was just kind of one of those things where you are really close to the goal post, you know, and then you get on a hash mark at the same time, and I just really didn’t let my body take over and kick it,” Journell said. “Because you’re kicking further across the field. And it feels like you’re pushing it way right. I kind of just didn’t let my body take it the way I wanted to. I just need to trust my foot.”
Despite his poor performance, Beamer still has faith in his fifth-year senior kicker.
“The guy is a good kicker. Every kick is right down the middle, good height, he just didn’t quite follow through with that second one,” Beamer said. “The thing about Cody is he knows what went wrong. Some guys they’re missing and they can’t figure it out, but he know his rhythm, his kick and I feel good about him.”
Another issue off the field that has recently developed is the threats that Journell started receiving after the Georgia Tech game. Journell had to change his cell phone number and the team has reported the incidents to the police.
“It’s just not something you think about or should think about at the college level, the pro level and the high school level,” Beamer said, “Guys are out there doing their best, playing as hard as they can play and there is no room for that. That wasn’t a good Hokie fan.”
Yet, Journell insists that the threats haven't deterred him, but have instead motivated him.
“I think it motivates me more than anything,” Journell said. “I honestly feel more comfortable on the field than I do being out in public or whatever. It’s kind of like my release place.”