Utes kicker Jadon Redding disappointed in how he’s started the season

Redding, who made the Pac-12 All-Conference first team last year, missed a crucial PAT and field goal against San Diego State.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Utes place kicker Jadon Redding (97) as the Utah Utes host the Weber State Wildcats in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021.

University of Utah kicker Jadon Redding received an unwelcome wake-up call over last weekend.

The sophomore, who made the Pac-12 All-Conference first-team last year, missed crucial attempts between the uprights in the late stages of Utah’s triple-overtime loss to San Diego State on Saturday. He missed on a go-ahead 37-yard field goal in the second overtime against the Aztecs, and also missed his second extra point of the season.

“I have to reevaluate things because clearly what needs to get done isn’t getting done,” Redding said this week. “So it’s something I have to look in to and make some changes.”

Entering the 2021 season, Redding boasted a 73 for 73 record on PATs and 18 for 21 on field goals for his career. But through the first three games, Redding is going through something of a slump. He is 8 of 10 on extra points and 4 of 6 on field goals so far in 2021.

Utes coach Kyle Whittingham, though, doesn’t plan to make any changes at the kicker position any time soon.

“Still believe in Jadon,” Whittingham said Monday. “Right now, we’re sticking with Jadon at least at this point in time.”

The ball came off Redding’s toe on the missed PAT, Whittingham said. On the field goal, the coach said his kicker merely missed.

Whittingham didn’t seem worried about Redding’s confidence level going forward.

“He’s a mentally tough kid,” Whittingham said of Redding. “Kickers, you have to forget. Kind of like corners — forget what happened and just move forward and rely on your fundamentals and your technique.”

Redding said he didn’t employ the short-term memory it takes to be an efficient kicker on Saturday.

“I turned around and let the team down again with that 37-yard kick that, in my mind and I think a lot of other people’s [minds], is a pretty easy make,” Redding said.

Whittingham, although his background isn’t specifically in kicking, has been key in helping Redding get back on track as he prepares to take the field against Washington State this weekend.

“I think it’s better sometimes to talk with someone that doesn’t know about kicking because they don’t try to break down every little piece,” Redding said. “They just look at the complete basics of it. … So I think that’s been super helpful from [Whittingham] and the rest of the specialists.”

Aside from Whittingham’s public support, it seems Redding’s teammates also have his back based on the recent players-only meeting.

“I stood up and spoke in that players’ meeting, said a few words and no one gave me the cold shoulder. No one turned their back on me,” Redding said. “That doesn’t mean they’re not disappointed, and they have every right to be.

“I think that was a little reassuring for me that they’re going to support me when I’m doing my worst and they’re going to be there when I’m doing my best. I really appreciate that and I love them.”

Redding doesn’t think there will be a moment or a specific make that will officially end the slump he’s on. He just wants to keep his confidence up and focus on the daily process of his craft.

“The day that you stop working at it or the day that you do think it’s over is probably when it’s just going to get started again,” Redding said. “Every single day is a work in progress. Every single day is looking at ways of how you can do things better or how you can change things for the better.”