(This is the fifth installment of a position-by-position Q&A on UCA football, Interviews with selected players were conducted after spring drills)
Eddie Camara made 13 of 15 field goal attempts last season, including a game-winner against McNeese State.
He also kept the Bears in their NCAA FCS playoff game against Georgia Southern with three field goals.
The University of Central Arkansas coaches are expecting an All-American type season for the junior place-kicker. He’ll be a key element in the Bears’ kicking game.
Jace Denker, who stepped in after Camara had a slight injury, will be redshirt this season with the hope that Camara can handle all the place-kicking chores.
5-9, 168, Jr.
How much better kicker are you now from this time last year?
I feel like I am a lot better. I feel more consistent. I feel better about my technique. I am a lot more confident. Two years of game experience has really helped.
What are you working on?
I always work on being consistent. Not much change from my kicking from last year. I work with being consistent each time and correct what’s wrong. I think I need to work on my kickoffs to be more consistent."
You made some pressure kicks last year, so you are used to that?
"I had a game-winner in high school in triple overtime. And Texas State the first year I was here and McNeese last year. I feel pretty strong. I’m three-for-three on game-winners. I don’t feel very nervous going into game-winners. I’m very confident."
What have you learned from the playoff experiences the last two years?
"In high school (Cedarville, Texas), we were a prestigious program. Playoffs were pretty serious for our school, preparing and games. I feel the same thing here. I take every single game as seriously as possible. I don’t take games off. i want to be the best I can be. In the playoffs, it’s more about your brothers and helping your team. Like with three field goals against Georgia Southern, I’m trying to keep our team in it".
As a kicker, do you have to build leg strength to be able to play 14 or 15 games?
"That’s one of the things I talked about with my coaches. They felt my strength went down a little bit at the end of the season. What will be working on this offseason and preseason will be strength and stamina. I’ll be doing a lot of running. We’ll also are adding some stuff in our conditioning for kickers that will help our stamina in November and December."
POSITION ANALYSIS: Camara should be one of the top place-kickers in NCAA FCS. Jonathan Harrison, a junior college transfer, showed promise in the spring about taking over the punting duties. Jestin Love is the leading punt return candidates. Several prospects for kickoff returns.
NEXT: DEFENSIVE BACKS