Cole Fisher was impressive in his first start as Mercer’s place-kicker in the team’s season opener Sept. 1 against The Citadel.
But the sophomore said he knows better than to be satisfied with that performance.
Fisher made all three of his field goal attempts in the Bears’ 24-23 loss to the Bulldogs, including a career-long 47-yarder. He added a 26-yarder and a 31-yarder and made both of his extra-point tries.
“In college football, your position is never really safe,” Fisher said. “If you go out there and have a bad game at any time of the season, your position can be in jeopardy. But it was definitely a big relief to go out there and have that performance and know I have a leg up on the competition.
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“I know I have to keep it there, though.”
Fisher made his only field goal attempt last year, hitting a 28-yarder against East Tennessee State. Still, Mercer head coach Bobby Lamb didn’t hesitate to send Fisher out on the field for his three field goal tries, including the 47-yarder.
“He played at Archer High School, and they played in the state championship at the Georgia Dome that year where he kicked a 48-yard (field goal),” Lamb said. “So, he’s got a lot of confidence in what he’s doing, but obviously it was the first time for him a college game.”
Although it was his first start, Fisher said there weren’t really any nerves to deal with in Thursday’s game.
“Not really. I thought there would be — I didn’t sleep too well the first couple of nights before the game,” Fisher said. “But once I got out there and hit that first 26-yarder, it was really all good to go from there. I felt a little hyped going back to the sidelines and high-fiving guys, but other than that … it was a normal game.”
That’s what Lamb likes to hear, and he has plenty of confidence in his new place-kicker. Lamb said that confidence will play into his play-calling going forward.
“It makes it a lot easier (to call plays). We can pretty much say, ‘OK, we’ve got to get to a certain yard line to feel comfortable with him kicking a field goal,’ ” Lamb said. “In the past, once we crossed the 50, and it was third-and-10, we were trying to call a play to get it to fourth-and-2 or fourth-and-1 because we’d plan to go for it.
“This makes it a lot easier to call plays. We got into a certain situation the other day where it was a 47-yard field goal. I didn’t wait a minute — we called it ASAP, and he knocked it right through there. (He) has done a great job of improving his technique and his leg strength. He had a great night.”
That was highlighted by the 47-yarder, which gave Mercer the lead in the third quarter.
“It was (nice).” Fisher said. “As I was taking my steps back, I could feel a little bit of a breeze coming straight into my face mask. I knew I had to hit it perfect to get it there, and that’s probably as close to perfect as I’ve hit since camp started. It was very exciting to see that ball drop behind the crossbar.”