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Bonani: ‘My plan is to not miss again’
Posted Apr 5, 2012 by Joey Johnston
Updated Apr 5, 2012 at 11:02 AM
It’s an ambitious goal, probably an unrealistic one, but it reflects the confidence of University of South Florida place-kicker Maikon Bonani.
“My plan is to not miss again,’’ Bonani said as he prepared for USF’s first full scrimmage of spring football on Friday.
Bonani, going into his senior season, has been a generally dependable kicker for the Bulls. He has made 51 of 68 career field-goal attempts (75 percent). There was his stunning debut, a 43-yard game-winner as time expired when the Bulls defeated No. 13-ranked Kansas 37-34 in 2008. There was the 2010 overtime victory at Louisville, when Cardinals coach Charlie Strong used two timeouts to ice him, then Bonani missed a potential game-winner in regulation. Bonani got redemption in OT when he drilled a 37-yarder.
Then there was last season’s bitter 20-17 overtime loss at Rutgers.
Throughout their disappointing season, the Bulls (5-7) could have pointed to any number of plays that prevented them from becoming bowl eligible. The most obvious one was Bonani’s 27-yard miss at the end of regulation at Rutgers, which allowed the Scarlet Knights to force overtime and capture an almost unthinkable comeback.
In logic that perhaps only kickers can understand, Bonani said he has forgotten that moment and moved on. But he will always remember it, too.
“I have to go out there thinking I’m never going to miss again,’’ Bonani said. “If it happens, I’d hate it. My goal is to become so sound, do the same thing over and over again, that regardless of the distance, the hashmark, the wind, it doesn’t matter. I just know what I do is right and hopefully it will go in every time.’‘
Bonani said the FG miss at Rutgers, crushing as it was, allowed him to grow as a person and a kicker.
“I’ve had great support from this team and my coaches,’’ Bonani said. “You don’t have too much time to dwell on it. If you do that, it becomes worse. You move on. You never forget it. I will never forget it. I know everything that happened, exactly what happened, for the good and the bad. But you just move on regardless. Whether it’s a good or bad kick, you have to focus on the next one.
“You have to remember what happened in order for you to keep that gut-wrenching feeling in your stomach to never go through that again. We remind ourselves of how it felt (in USF’s fourth-quarter losses during 2011). We never want to go through it again.’‘
Bonani seems to know how to rebound from adversity. Hidden statistic: Since the loss at Rutgers, he was 7-for-7 on field-goal attempts to finish the season, including three from 40 yards or longer. In other words, since the lowest moment of his USF career, where they could have been emotional carryover, Bonani hasn’t missed. Maybe he’s on to something.