Washington senior kicker and punter Travis Coons was on his way to a special-teams meeting Monday morning when defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox stopped him and asked him to step into a meeting with the defense instead.
“Sweet!” Coons thought. “I’m about to get some time at safety.”
Sorry, the Huskies have the safety position covered. But Wilcox wanted to make sure his defense appreciated Coons, who deserved an “MVP award,” coach Steve Sarkisian said, for his efforts in dreadful conditionings during Saturday’s UW victory over Arizona.
“Everybody give Coons a round of applause for helping us out,” Wilcox asked his defensive players.
Said Coons: “That’s never happened before.”
Kicking into a headwind during a rainstorm, Coons made a season-long 42-yard field goal to give UW an 8-0 lead in the second quarter. More impressively, all five of his punts dropped inside the Arizona 20-yard line.
Coons did miss the first point-after try of his UW career, after making 58 in a row since the start of the 2012 season. But that’s forgivable considering the conditions (and, besides, the Huskies led 31-13 at the time, which turned out to be the game’s final score). In monsoon-like conditions, UW failed on the first PAT of the game when the high snap from Ryan Masel slipped through the hands of holder Korey Durkee, with Coons recovering the ball some 30 yards up field.
“The rain and the wind is definitely a huge challenge,” Coons said. “You just gotta think (that) you know what you’re doing and do what you do all the time. That’s what I kept telling myself, and it worked out pretty good.”
Coons is 4 for 4 on field-goal attempts this season and said a “big factor” in his success is that he’s not in charge of kickoffs anymore. Freshman Cameron Van Winkle has taken over as the kickoff specialist, after Coons did the kicking, punting and kickoffs last season.
“Kickoffs actually took a lot out of my leg,” he said. “Just handling kicks and punts, my legs feel fresh every day.”