Simply seven quick months in the past, Alex Bales of the Cincinnati Bearcats launched a kick over Alabama’s Jameson Williams for a touchback, opening the Faculty Soccer Playoffs on the 2021 Cotton Bowl.
Now, Bales is head first into a contest at Oregon, trying to earn the kicking duties over incumbent Camden Lewis.
Bales, a local of Westfield, Indiana, initially dedicated to Michigan out of highschool earlier than flipping his dedication to Cincinnati. Former Cincinnati particular groups coach brian mason constructed a relationship with Bales, a lot in order that he flipped from Michigan. Nevertheless, after Cincinnati misplaced to Alabama within the CFP semi-finals, Mason moved on to educate particular groups at Notre Dame.
Bales immediately discovered himself at a crossroads.
“I kind of related with him (Mason), I had a extremely good relationship with, and I trusted him, so I decommitted from Michigan out of highschool and took an opportunity with him,” stated Bales. “Then, as soon as he left Cincinnati for Notre Dame, I kind of had a call to make what’s greatest for me. I’ve at all times been a man that I can lead myself, however we did not have a coach there for about two months “So I used to be slightly stranded and so being a walk-on, you realize, it was troublesome. Being a two-year starter enjoying the Peach Bowl and the Cotton Bowl within the playoffs, it was type of troublesome. Had a protracted speak.” with my household and thought it could be time to maneuver on, and that was kind of the method there. It was actually laborious. I like Cincinnati. They’ve a spot in my coronary heart, however I used to be attempting to take a step ahead.”
Bales step ahead arrived with a telephone name and dinner with Oregon’s newly minted particular groups coordinator Joe Lorig. Lorig by no means performed in opposition to Bales and Cincinnati throughout his tenure at Penn State, however the chief of a number of the greatest particular workforce items within the nation knew he discovered somebody who may assist the Geese’ particular groups woes.
“Coach Lorig, when he reached out to me at Cincy, I imply I used to be grateful for the coaches we had there, but it surely wasn’t as a lot as like a player-coach reference to the specialists,” stated Bales. “And right here (at Oregon), he was exhibiting me what they do with the kickers charting-wise, how they maintain the athletes right here, stroll on or scholarship, you are handled the identical. After which simply coaches. I imply , after I got here on my go to right here, Coach Lorig and Coach Zack Tinker took me out to dinner with my household, and kind of simply the dialog I had with them like seeing that they are from the Midwest, nearly, Pittsburgh, simply one thing that I really feel related to. Simply having that subsequent to me and somebody that is aware of what it is wish to be throughout the nation away from residence.
“I simply wish to play ball. The connection goes a good distance, and Coach Lorig and Coach Tink (Tinker) have been two coaches that, I imply, rising up, I used to be an enormous Oregon fan, and coach Lorig reached out to me and made me really feel at residence. It was one thing I did not really feel at Cincy, and I type of trusted him and thought I would take an opportunity transferring 35 hours away.”
At Cincinnati, Bales was the Bearcats’ kickoff specialist. He tried 84 kickoffs, with over half (45) going for touchbacks. Final season, Oregon had 79 kickoffs with solely 35 going for touchbacks, averaging 60.6 yards per kick. Bales averaged 61.67 yards per kick.
Alongside kickoff duties, Bales tried 5 area objectives, serving because the long-distance kicker for Cincinnati. He made simply two, a 52-yarder and a 27-yarder however did join on 12-of-13 PATs.
With the Geese, Bales is preventing for each the kickoff specialist and placekicking duties as a part of 4 switch kickers/punters that Oregon introduced in over the offseason.
One other switch punter, Adam Barry, educated with Bales in the summertime, one thing that helped convey a connection instantly to fall camp.
“We each dedicated to Oregon, after which Coach Lorig and Coach Mike McCabe, they’ve a extremely good connection, each kicker that Coach Lorig has had, they’ve all educated with McCabe,” stated Bales. “So we went on the market, and we really lived in an Airbnb collectively for slightly over a month and a half. So we had a extremely good connection. We each have the identical objectives. We wish to come to assist this workforce, and we wish to win the PAC 12 Championship and the natty.”
Because the lone participant on Oregon’s roster to compete within the CFP, Bales had loads of conversations about his expertise with different gamers.
“I’ve had a chat with fairly a couple of guys,” stated Bales. “I imply Chris Hutson has come up and talked to me, I had a chat with Bo Nix about it. I’ve talked to DJ Johnsonand I’ve talked to Justin Flowe. Justin will not shut up about it. He simply stored going like, ‘Bro, inform me what it was like.'”
Bales additionally sees a distinction that stands out for Oregon in comparison with his former Cincinnati roster.
“I informed the blokes, you realize, the very first thing I seen after I acquired right here was simply the brotherhood’s fully totally different,” stated Bales. “In Cincinnati, they’d a really robust brotherhood, however there have been numerous place teams that had points with one another. The teaching workers right here is, effectively, I imply, they know the gamers are gonna make errors, they usually’re not a lot going to carry us accountable.They wish to see gamers step up and maintain one another accountable, which I believe goes a good distance.
“What I believe made the playoff run for Cincy was after the game-winning area objective loss to Georgia within the Peach Bowl that offseason, we knew the place we have been, we knew the place we stood. And we had one objective in thoughts it was to take it there. However this workforce I imply, they’re totally different. I imply, we acquired some athletes that Cincy did not have, I can let you know that. And the factor about this workforce is, it is the brotherhood that I believe goes to take us a good distance. Everybody simply bonds, even exterior of soccer. I imply, everybody desires to do some with one another simply does not matter place, the place you are from, whoever you’re, title, stars, everybody right here is household, and that goes a good distance.”