Senior Alex Zendejas, who had a pair of extra points blocked against Arizona State last season and lost his starting job in fall camp, will get a second chance.
Zendejas will replace the struggling Jaime Salazar, who missed field goals of 45 and 36 yards last week — the first left and the second right — for Saturday’s home game against No. 10 Oregon.
“We’re going to give Alex his job back and see what he does this week,” coach Mike Stoops said in his Monday news conference.
“There wasn’t a huge difference in camp, but Jaime was a bit more consistent in. He hasn’t kicked as well as we would like from a certain range in, and those are very makeable kicks.”
Salazar, a second-team junior college All-American last season, missed from 46 yards in the opener against NAU. He pushed a PAT wide right in that game, too. Zendejas came into that game later to make the team’s final extra point.
After winning the job in camp, Salazar said of Zendejas: “He’s still going to compete. He’s a really committed kicker. He’s not going to stop.”
Zendejas has been accurate on field goals through his career — 31 of 41 (75.6 percent) — although the coaches haven’t often tested his range past 45 yards. That is a better college accuracy than New York Jets kicker Nick Folk, who made 63.8 percent of his field goal tries at Arizona.
Folk, though, had a super leg. The problem with Zendejas has been his inconsistent height on his kicks, especially with the extra points.
Zendejas missed eight PATs in the past two seasons — seven of which were blocked.
Oregon fans likely will remember Zendejas from last season. Ducks coach Chip Kelly called two timeouts at the end of the first half to ice Zendejas before a 29-yard attempt. Zendejas made the field goal and then pointed at Kelly as he ran off the field.
Zendejas apologized for the gesture a day later, saying, “It was kind of disrespectful.”