Aaron Hunt left last season as the school’s all-time leading scorer. The duties of replacing Hunt fell to Stephen Furr and Jad Dean. The battle started in the spring, but was not settle until right before kickoff versus Wake Forest. Furr got the nod, and made the biggest kick of his life in the first overtime. Many felt Furr would receive the needed confidence from the overtime kick, but after that kick, Furr had two critical misses against Georgia Tech and Texas A&M.
In the A&M game, the Tigers had struggled to find a ray of hope. Finally, they were able to move right down the field and put six points on the board. Then, Furr missed the PAT and you felt all the momentum being sucked right out of the team.
Shortly after the game, Coach Tommy Bowden named Dean the starter for the Florida State game. Dean was a perfect 3 for 3 on extra points versus the Seminoles. Dean really boosted his confidence in the Virginia game. The Tigers were up 7-3, and could not afford to lose the momentum on a missed field goal. Dean nailed his first attempt in his college career from 43 yards to put the Tigers up 10-3.
Since the 43 yarder against Virginia, Dean has been lights out. In the last two games, Dean is 5 for 5 on field goals and the Tigers have needed everyone one of them to win. The consistency Dean is playing with right now allows the team to stay in a rhythm. The defense feels much more confident going back out on the field after a score, and the offense is able to remain confident.
Dean has not had to make the pressure packed kick at the end of a game, but now has the necessary confidence that Coach Bowden would not hesitate to send Dean out there to win a game. The kicking game was a major concern heading into the season, but now is quickly growing into an added weapon in the Tigers arsenal.