Golden: Would handling triple duty for Texas wear out Cameron Dicker's golden leg?
Dicker enters is senior season
- Dicker has made 73% of his career field goal attempts.
- He had a career best .835 percentage of kickoffs go as touchbacks last season.
- Dicker has a chance to be the starting punter if he beats out Ryan Bujcevski, who is back after tearing his ACL last November.
When news broke earlier this year of the NCAA passing a provision that would allow college athletes to profit off their celebrity, the first name that came to mind was Cameron Dicker.
Yep, Dicker the Kicker, a marketing slogan that has the potential to score the Longhorn mucho dinero off the field.
Problem is, Dicker has been in the production department when it comes to a nickname that should be in any marketing professional’s wheelhouse.
The senior recently cut a commercial with a roofing company and says he’s looking to crash the burger and salad dressing industry. But what about that those Dicker the Kicker T-shirts and ball caps that should have been flying off the shelves weeks ago?
In the works, he says.
When it comes to money-making gigs for amateur athletes in the offseason, the more the merrier. It’s been a long time coming and in the land of opportunity, one should take full advantage of any such blessing.
Dicker has done plenty off the field this summer, but nothing compared to what he's attempting to pull off between the lines.
In addition to booting field goals, Dicker the Kicker is also Dicker the Kickoff Specialist.
He’s Dicker the Punter.
Did we mention Dicker the Barista or Dicker the Uber Driver?
For now, it’s possible the senior will be wearing all three hats when the Horns open the season against Louisiana on Sept. 4. Punter Ryan Bujcevski is working his way back from surgery on the torn ACL he suffered against West Virginia last November. While Dicker is hoping for the punter's full recovery — Bujcevski was hitting them pretty good at the open practice on Aug. 18 — Dicker has been preparing as if he'll be the starting punter.
After shoulder surgery in January, Dicker returned to the field in the spring and has been pulling triple duty under the direction of new special teams coordinator Jeff Banks.
“I kind of have always wanted to be working on punting because it’s a good tool to have for me,” Dicker said. “This allowed me the opportunity to compete. It’s a new staff and new eyes on me.”
While marketing opportunities with the roofing company and Cameo kept him busy this offseason, there is legitimate concern that too much stress on that right leg will affect his kicking accuracy as the season wears on.
Dicker has made 73% of his field goal attempts — 47 of 62 — with three game-winners, including a career moment as a freshman in the 2018 upset of Oklahoma. As far as kickoffs are concerned, his percentage of touchbacks improved drastically from .626 his sophomore year to .835 in 2020.
He took over punting duties for the last three games and averaged 43.6 yards per attempt with a long of 53.
The hope is Bujcevski will be back better than ever this season, but if he has a setback, Steve Sarkisian and Co. will have to be really careful not to wear out Dicker, an integral part of this team, especially since the Horns may not be as effective offensively with an unproven quarterback.
Dicker and Banks have an understanding. If the coach says the kicker/punter has done enough at practice, then he shuts it down. Trust is a huge factor here and will continue to be when the real bullets start flying.
That dynamic could be tested if Dicker is struggling in one department while having to balance his responsibilities in the other. It’s a lot to put on a placekicker, whose job, while one-dimensional, is one of the most important in all sports.
We remember Dusty Mangum because he booted Texas past Michigan in the 2005 Rose Bowl. We remember Hunter Lawrence because he beat Nebraska for the 2009 Big 12 championship, propelling Texas to the BCS national title game. We remember Justin Tucker because he beat Texas A&M at Kyle Field in 2011 with a money boot as time expired.
The workload will have to be monitored carefully, and there will probably come a time when Banks will have to save Dicker from himself. The kicker's own mentality throughout all of this will go a long way in determining if he's successful in every phase.
"We talked a lot about his full big-picture season, what that looks like on a rep basis and a day-to-day basis,” Banks said.
Banks has Dicker on a four-day week for the express purpose of keeping his legs fresh, which might be trickier than it sounds because Dicker is a tireless worker. The worst-case scenario has Dicker catching a dead leg in the middle of the season when conference games start.
“I’m going to be honest about it. Cam’s a competitor,” Banks said. “He’s got a nice disposition. He’s kind of an easygoing guy and I’m a little more intense than that as a coach. So I think it’s a nice little mix between me and him because he knows when he needs to be serious and he knows when he can be a little bit lax.
"And when I say that, I don’t mean not work hard. I just mean not put pressure on himself, so yes, the mental makeup is critical.”
Dicker has his priorities in order. Emptying the gas tank in practice is good for a defensive tackle looking to improve his conditioning, but a kicker is a different animal. Keeping the legs strong but fresh is a key, and Dicker made sure to get plenty of cardio in during the spring, even as he was recovering from shoulder surgery.
The job isn’t complex, but it’s essential to this team’s success. A lot is not only riding on Dicker's shoulders, but more important, on that right leg.
“I think it’s super important just to make sure I can continue to be able to hit balls deep on kickoffs and be able to have clean strikes everywhere.” he said.
And about those T-shirts?
“That’s going to be coming soon,” Dicker said. “I’m hopefully trying to get it launched before the season.”
So many gigs, so little time.