(15) DAVID NEWBURY--Placekicker, 5-9, 175, Sr./Sr.
2001: Newbury, who was USC's placekicker in 1999 and 2000, handled all of the kickoffs as a senior in 2001. Seven of his 62 kickoffs pinned opponents within the 20, with 1 touchback and 2 on-side recoveries. Because he didn't have the leg to consistently knock his kickoffs into the end zone and because of USC's mediocre kickoff return coverage, in Troy's last 5 game he resorted to pooch kicks at times (resulting in 14 fair catches on 28 kickoffs). He made 1 tackle (at Oregon) in 2001. He did not attempt any field goals or PATs in 2001, serving as David Davis' backup. He was invited to play in the Paradise Bowl.
2000: Although Newbury spent 1999 as USC's placekicker, he had to battle John Wall and David Bell for the job in 2000 fall drills. He spent the first half of his 2000 junior season handling that duty before faltering and being replaced by Wall in the middle of the Arizona game. Overall in 2000 while appearing in USC's first 5 games, he hit 4-of-9 field goals and 9-of-12 PATs. He did not see any action in USC's final 7 outings.
He hit all 3 attempts (47, 27 and 44 yards) against Penn State to tie a Kickoff Classic game record. After missing a pair of field goals earlier in the Colorado game, he nailed a game-winning 24-yarder with 13 seconds to play (it was the latest in a game that a Trojan kicked a game-winning field goal since Don Shafer did so at the gun at Baylor in 1986); for his performance, he was named the Pac-10 Special Teams Player of the Week. After he missed a pair of field goals and had a PAT kick blocked against in the first half of the Arizona game, he lost his job for the rest of the 2000 season.
1999: Newbury, who transferred to USC from a junior college, had an up-and-down season as USC's kicker as a sophomore in 1999. Overall in 1999, he hit 11-of-20 field goals, with a long of 48 yards, and was 40-of-42 on PATs.
He had an impressive collegiate debut at Hawaii, as he nailed both of his field goals (a 48-yarder for USC's first points and then a 34-yarder at the first half gun) and all 8 of his PATs. He hit 1-of-2 field goals (a 26-yarder) and all 3 PATs against San Diego State. He struggled at Oregon, hitting his first field goal (29 yards), but then missing his next 3 (including 2 in overtime), but bounced back somewhat against Oregon State, hitting a 38-yarder on his only field goal attempt and 4-of-5 PATs. He then nailed a 40?yard field goal on his only attempt and was 3?of?3 on PATs at Arizona, hit a 29-yard field goal and all 3 PATs at Notre Dame, and made a 31-yard field goal (he missed 2 others) plus all 4 PAT kicks against Stanford. He made his only PAT kick at California, hit a 29-yard field goal versus Arizona State, then connected on a 34-yard field goal and all 4 of his PATs at Washington State. He hit a 22-yard field goal to open the scoring against UCLA. Against Louisiana Tech, he hit all 4 PATs, but missed a field goal before David Bell subbed for him in the third quarter.
JUNIOR COLLEGE: He was a 1998 Super Prep JUCO 100 and Southwest JC Conference second team pick as a freshman at Navarro Junior College in Corsicana (Tex.). In 1998, he made 26-of-27 PATs and hit 7-of-12 field goals, 3 of which were game-winners. His longest field goal, a 42-yarder, was the game-winner against Kilgore JC. Navarro went 7-4 in 1998, advanced to the Region XIV final and had a final national ranking of No. 15.
HIGH SCHOOL: He prepped at Corsicana (Tex.) High, where he was a 2-time All-District 23 placekicker. He also played soccer at Corsicana, twice being named the District MVP.
PERSONAL: He's a sociology major at USC. He likes to fish. His father, Gerry, played professional soccer in England.
DAVID NEWBURY ON: Placekicking: "It's 1.25 seconds. You could be a hero or a goat that quickly."
Rebounding from an inconsistent 2000 season: "It's now or never. I have no one else to prove it to but myself. The kicks will come. You have to forget about the 2000 season. You can't remember the bad things. Things that you can remember are the kicks against Colorado and Penn State…All I can do is go to practice, wait for my shot and then produce. I know I can do it. I've proven I can do it. But I have to prove it on a week-in, week-out basis. No more of this 'Kick three field goals one game, then make one in the next four games."
Missing kicks: "Every miss hurt so bad. I think that it was actually better for me to take a step back and say, 'You know what? It was too much.' I was trying to hit every ball like it was a game winner…In 1999, I felt like I never got into a rhythm. I was always trying out a new stance, I was always experiementing…What a difference one year makes just in maturity and how you react to problems, how you react to getting slapped in the face. If I missed a field goal in 1999, I would really dwell on that kick. I was just trying to correct things during the game and experiment with things. In 2000, I tried to do the exact same thing every day. My main thing was just be confident and take one kick at a time…The 1999 Oregon game (he missed 3 field goals, including 2 in overtime) is going to be in my head the rest of my life and in my heart. The way I felt after the game, I'll never forget. But I'm glad it's there because I don't want to be there again. I'll do whatever it takes to never have our team in that situation…When I missed kicks, I would get nasty, anonymous e-mails from fans. I responded. I wrote them back. I didn't lash out, I just wrote, 'I really feel sorry for you, that you would actually take the time to make someone else feel bad about something they already feel bad about.' I mean, nobody feels worse about missing kicks than I do. That really hurts. It's one thing for fans to boo and say things, but to write something down in e-mail, you know it's premeditated. I can't believe someone would do that…People ask, 'Doesn't it kill you to hear the crowd boo?' But you know, you can't please everybody…The only person I really listen to besides my parents and coaches is God…When I was replaced, a lot of things became clearer for me. Football had consumed so much of my life, my academics, my spiritual life, my relationship with God. It really took a toll on me. It was more than just going out there and kicking it. It was like a life or death thing for me…It made me a much stronger person…You're only as good as your last kick. That's what people always remember you by."
Getting recruiting rejections: "I'll never forget that feeling you get when someone tells you you're not good enough…It really hurts because you start to doubt yourself…Florida wrote me a letter which read, 'You have neither the talent nor the raw athletic ability to compete in our conference. Our conference recruits the best and you're not the best.' When they found out I had a verbal commitment to USC they called me back and apologized. They tried to get me to take a trip there but I said, 'No thanks, USC has been loyal to me, so I'll be loyal to them.' I saved that letter, though. I'd give anything to play Florida sometime in a bowl game, kick the winning field goal and hand Steve Spurrier that letter. All that did was really, really motivate me."
Turning from soccer to football: "Soccer was everything to me. But growing up in East-Central Texas is just like that movie 'Varsity Blues.' Everyone looks up to the football players. Ever since I was little I went to varsity football games. Those guys were like demi-gods. Everyone would rally around them. The last person in town would turn the lights out on the way to the road football games. Most of my friends played football, so I gave it a try…In soccer, if you miss a shot, you know you'll have other shots. But with kicking, you have to be perfect every time. You don't know if you'll have the chance to kick again."
His father: "My dad is from London, England. When he first came over to the U.S., he lived in Indiana. Well, the first football game he ever saw was the 1978 Cotton Bowl between Notre Dame and Houston. His company in Indiana had a wager with a company in Houston over the game. Joe Montana pulled out the victory in the end and my dad was the one who had to go down to Houston to collect the winnings. He met my mom there and later they moved to Corsicana, where I was born…My dad was a huge fan of Notre Dame until now. He used to hate USC. But now he's been completely turned around. Things are different when you have your son on the team."
GAME-BY-GAME WITH DAVID NEWBURY
**includes 2 onside kick recoveries