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Female kicker doesn’t make the cut at LSU

Mo Isom

Any hope of LSU women’s soccer player Mo Isom joining the Tigers football team — and becoming just the second female to potentially score in a Division 1 football game — can be put to bed… for now.

Following tryouts last week, LSU coach Les Miles announced today that Isom had not made the cut.

“We reviewed her skill, the things she can do and do well,” Miles said. “We kind of felt like there’s four guys on the team right now that would be ahead of anybody that tried out the other day, including Mo. I told her that today.

“She’s going to go back and concentrate on extra points and field goals. She did not want to take that she couldn’t make the team. She said’ Do I get another opportunity if I get a lot better.’ I said ‘Sure’.”

That opportunity will come in August when LSU holds preseason tryouts. While power isn’t the issue for Isom — she once made a 90-yard goal on a free kick – another rather crucial component of the game of football — tackling — was. Seems that’s what Isom needs to be working on between now and then if she has any shot of making the roster.

“She’s a great person but there’s some things she can’t do and she knows it,” Miles said. “We go to kicking off into the corner, we count on our kicker making some tackles and it’s just not something I’m comfortable she’s ready to do. It’s one of those spots you really can’t put a person that cannot tackle.”

Former Colorado and New Mexico kicker Katie Hnida is the only female to ever attempt a kick during a major college football game.

(Photo courtesy of LSU athletics) 

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46 Responses to “Female kicker doesn’t make the cut at LSU”
  1. tigersgeaux says: Mar 13, 2012 10:22 PM

    Mo is a great person and a great athlete. As a female she faced great odds at making the team at LSU at this time. If she was born about 20 years ago, it would have been easier on her, but the skilled players of LSU at kicking, punting, and extra points and field goals are some of the elite in college football.

    There are likely some schools where she would make the team and be either a replacement player or even play on the first team somewhere. In major college football, especially in the “smash mouth” (quoting Coach Dan Mullen) SEC, it was very very very unlikely she would make any team.

    Coach Miles said she would be welcomed to the team if she could help the team. Apparently, she could not. I wish Mo well. She is a class person and she did her best.

  2. Deb says: Mar 13, 2012 10:37 PM

    It’s no surprise that she didn’t make the team, which isn’t a knock on LSU. Coach Miles has handled her tryout well, but the Tigers have a particularly strong kicking game and she couldn’t have outmatched her competition. I wish her tremendous success in other athletic endeavors; she seems to be a talented and determined young woman.

    However, I continue to believe there should be a restriction against women trying out for NCAA football programs. Although in rare circumstances girls do play on some boys high school teams, even the most qualified female would not be biologically capable of outperforming the most-qualified male in this sport at the NCAA level. That is why Olympic athletes compete in separate gender classes. It’s not a matter of women being held back or told to keep their place. It’s simple biology. Even if a female kicker could kick well enough to make an NCAA team, she could not make the physical plays needed if a kick were being run back. If women really want to play American-style football, they should work to form more female leagues.

  3. tn16 says: Mar 13, 2012 10:45 PM

    K Im not sexist but really u expect some soccer chick be able to play
    DIV 1 football no in sorry what happens if she faced with someone 1-1 he will fucking distory her and if after a kick of she runs down the field some one will just knock her on her ass
    And what happens if one of the guys block her in the breast there Gona be some female activist groups calling that shit ” sexual harassment ” fuck I’m sorry but just stick to soccer

  4. seanb20124 says: Mar 13, 2012 10:49 PM

    Sandra Fluke is coming for you Mr. Miles!!

  5. detroitcityryda says: Mar 13, 2012 11:20 PM

    She can make the team with my post I’ll let her practice all day

  6. rollteal says: Mar 13, 2012 11:42 PM

    She is hot hopefully she can make it.

  7. grudenthediva says: Mar 14, 2012 12:09 AM

    “And what happens if one of the guys block her in the breast there Gona be some female activist groups calling that shit ” sexual harassment ””

    Yep, I’m sure allll the ladies love you at DeVry.

  8. usmutts says: Mar 14, 2012 12:15 AM

    “tn16,” go away and don’t come back. This site is for adults.

  9. drexelvol says: Mar 14, 2012 12:20 AM

    Oh, shut the hell up, Deb. Women aren’t biologically capable of commenting on a blog about college football at this level. There should be restrictions on here!

  10. iplaybad says: Mar 14, 2012 12:45 AM

    I think a lot of her good press is because she’s a smokeshow. If she weren’t super sexy, there’s 0% chance she gets a look for an SEC football team when she’s uncomfortable doing something integral to solid special teams: tackling when your guys get beat. No one regardless of any immutable trait should be on a kickoff if they’re “uncomfortable.” It is the most dangerous part of a football game!

  11. drexelvol says: Mar 14, 2012 1:00 AM

    @iplaybad – Where are you getting all this “uncomfortable” from? She never said that.

  12. thraiderskin says: Mar 14, 2012 1:44 AM

    Oh my, the things running through my mind… Anyway, I hope she does give it another shot, if anything, atleast she made the attempt to do what many guys would not.

  13. Deb says: Mar 14, 2012 2:12 AM

    drexelvol …

    You don’t agree with my views. That’s your prerogative. But I’m not going to “shut the hell up” just to make you happy. Women aren’t biologically capable of commenting on a football blog? Wow, what an intelligent comeback from a self-proclaimed enlightened male who’s only commenting because he believes women are entitled to equal opportunities. Do you ever gag on your hypocrisy?

    You’re not supporting the notion of women on NCAA football teams because you genuinely believe in gender equality–if you did, you wouldn’t be so condescending to women who disagree with you. You’ve just taken a position that it’s okay for women kickers to play in the NCAA and are going to push it come hell or high water even though it defies logic.

    If I go on HBT, will I find you advocating for women to try out for the men’s basketball teams and men to try out for the women’s basketball teams? Nah. For some reason only in NCAA football–the most physically demanding and violent game of all–do you think women belong on an otherwise all-male team in an otherwise all-male sport. Yeah … that makes perfect sense.

  14. Deb says: Mar 14, 2012 2:13 AM

    Oops … that’s CBT–College Basketball Talk–not HBT.

  15. ob1canobie says: Mar 14, 2012 5:51 AM

    Other than Sebastian Janokowski name a kicker who can tackle… Yeah I am waiting. If you want to see the most lame version of a tackle on a football field, wait until you see the kicker have to tackle. hard to believe she could do ANY worse than the kickers I have seen…

  16. iplaybad says: Mar 14, 2012 7:22 AM

    1. From Miles’ statement, it appears that she’s not comfortable backing up her gunners or directional kicking.

    2. Kickers may not be expert tacklers but they do need to get in the way of kick returners or at least direct them out of bounds. She has 0 experience doing anything like that at a high level.

  17. 1historian says: Mar 14, 2012 7:59 AM

    She might weigh 140 lbs at most. She kicks off and there’s some guy who weighs maybe 200 lbs and he is running at top speed and she is supposed to get in his way to take him down and does anyone really believe – p.c. aside – that she can do that w/o getting hurt?

    Seriously?

  18. isetheskyonfire says: Mar 14, 2012 8:11 AM

    she kinda looks like tori black(;

  19. drexelvol says: Mar 14, 2012 9:33 AM

    @Deb – You’re just making the same tired argument all over again. Come back when you have another point to make.

  20. drexelvol says: Mar 14, 2012 9:39 AM

    @ob1canobie – David Akers is the only other kicker I know of that and really lay a hit and doesn’t get plowed over when trying to make a tackle.

    And you’re ABSOLUTELY right about Mo and tackling. I’ll bet all the guys that tried out couldn’t tackle any better than she could.

    That aside, I’m kind of confused as to why she was trying out for kickoffs anyway. I thought she was going for XPs and FGs. There’s nearly no need to be able to tackle with those.

  21. drexelvol says: Mar 14, 2012 9:41 AM

    @iplaybad – No, that’s not what he said. What he said was “…it’s just not something I’m comfortable she’s ready to do.”

    Not that SHE’s uncomfortable doing it.

  22. thraiderskin says: Mar 14, 2012 10:26 AM

    I’m with Deb on this… An athletic male slamming into her at full speed would be like a train versus a pick-up truck, impressive for power on their own and for their specified purpose, but not even close head to head.

  23. xtremesportsmaniac says: Mar 14, 2012 10:44 AM

    I did read where she had made two 50 yard field goals. That is pretty impressive!

  24. jmig320 says: Mar 14, 2012 10:46 AM

    @tn16- It’s called a period. Use it from time to time when making a weak attempt at proving a point. It won’t help much, but it’s a start.

    Also, starting a statement ‘I’m not sexist’ usually means that what follows is, indeed, going to be sexist.

  25. brutusbuckeye2011 says: Mar 14, 2012 10:59 AM

    Judging by her picture, I suspect a lot of the players would have liked to have her on the team.

    @ tn16:
    Any chance of proofreading your posts before hitting the submit button? Oh well, at least you can know how to spell the vulgar words you typed.

  26. florida727 says: Mar 14, 2012 11:57 AM

    Publicity stunt is over. Admire her for trying, but did she seriously think she had a shot? Miles cites FOUR ahead of her on the depth chart. Sorry, but that means ‘no chance’. Stick with soccer. Make the national team and represent your country in World Cup or Olympic play.

  27. barbeaux says: Mar 14, 2012 12:27 PM

    A kicker needs to be able to tackle? How many times do you see the kicker get junked or just plain ran over by a kick returner? Lots and lots. If the kick returner is penetrating that deeply on the return then there are problems much deeper than the kicker not being able to tackle.

  28. thraiderskin says: Mar 14, 2012 12:37 PM

    Everyone keeps saying its about her making a tackler, but let’s be honest here, Miles was just being nice and saying take/make a football hit.

  29. denisceo says: Mar 14, 2012 1:17 PM

    What she think? She was gonna make history, this is D1 and Miles would have been the last guy to put a girl on this football team

  30. guinsrule says: Mar 14, 2012 1:59 PM

    What good’s a kicker without any balls?

  31. Deb says: Mar 14, 2012 2:06 PM

    @drexelvol …

    I’m making the same argument because the biology hasn’t changed. You’re not making any argument at all. And don’t get a swelled head over the thumbs up. That’s just my loyal fan club of LSU old biddies. They’d give me thumbs down if I posted “God is good.”

  32. Deb says: Mar 14, 2012 2:13 PM

    @barbeaux …

    The issue isn’t that a kicker needs to be able to tackle. If women are going to be allowed to play NCAA football, they should be capable of playing at any position–and they’re not. If they’re not capable of playing at any position, then it’s absurd to allow a woman to come in as a token in one position when she can’t fully play that spot.

    No, most kickers don’t make tackles. But we’ve all seen kickers step up and make the play. If she were the kicker, you’d have 10 men on the field during the runback. Do you really want your team to have that disadvantage? For what? To prove that a girl can kick? Why is that important? We know girls can kick–they get that opportunity in soccer and in female football leagues. That’s what makes this entire conversation so asinine.

    Putting a female kicker on an NCAA team proves absolutely NOTHING because you are NEVER going to have a woman who can break into the game and play the other positions. That kicker is never going to break into the pros. And all she’d be doing is taking a chance away from a young man who might make the NFL. Just to prove some idiotic point. It’s selfish and stupid.

  33. drexelvol says: Mar 14, 2012 3:09 PM

    @ Deb – “That kicker is never going to break into the pros. And all she’d be doing is taking a chance away from a young man who might make the NFL. Just to prove some idiotic point. It’s selfish and stupid.”

    These are students at colleges and universities, not NFL minor league teams. Whether they pay tuition or are on scholarship, they have every right to take full advantage of the school’s athletic programs. Too bad if you don’t like that.

    If she took away any opportunity from a guy, that guy would certainly in no way, shape, or form be an NFL caliber player. Or, if that guy was an NFL caliber player, she’d be drafted as well because she’d be THAT good.

  34. Deb says: Mar 14, 2012 4:35 PM

    drexelvol! Now we’re finally having a reasonable discussion, and you’re making good points!

    You’re right … I do tend to think of NCAA football as the NFL’s farm league. And it is, of course. But it’s also an end in itself for student athletes who are good enough to play the game while they earn their degrees but know they will never play in the pros. And that is the majority of college players. So yes, you’ve got me there.

    You’re also right that any kicker she could beat out of that spot would never make an NFL team anyway. Excellent points!

    However, my issue is that women should have equal opportunity to pursue any dream they desire and for which they are qualified. When the rules are changed to accommodate women, that’s not equal opportunity.

    This is the only sport where people are arguing for co-ed players–and it’s the one sport where women are least physically equipped to play with men. The only possible place for a woman on the team is at the kicker position–and she’d have to leave the field after the kick without playing through the runback. What is equal about that? No team is going to make way for a male kicker who can’t perform through the runback.

    This isn’t about sports, it’s about tokenism–and tokenism has nothing to do with gender equality. If you have to give a woman special consideration so she can qualify, then you’ve diminished all women who are striving for goals and not asking for special considerations.

  35. drexelvol says: Mar 14, 2012 5:01 PM

    @ Deb -”When the rules are changed to accommodate women, that’s not equal opportunity. ”

    But, the rules aren’t changed here. There are currently no rules against women playing in NCAA football.

    “The only possible place for a woman on the team is at the kicker position–and she’d have to leave the field after the kick without playing through the runback.”

    She wouldn’t have to leave the field. Kickers rarely get involved in tackles, and even if they get close, they usually end up on their butts before the runner gets to them.

    Besides, a lot of college teams have specialty kickers for kickoffs and kickers for XPs and FGs. No reason a female can’t just do the latter. Geez, some teams have two FG kickers, one for short to intermediate kicks, and one for just long kicks. This isn’t the NFL were you’re restricted to a 53 player roster, and dress 46 active players per game and your one kicker does everything. A college program can have over 100 players on a team. They can only have 85 scholarship players, but that’s not the issue here.

    It’s not tokenism, at least not here. Miles said she wasn’t good enough, so, she’s not making the team. Doesn’t mean she can’t try and it doesn’t mean she couldn’t beat out a male at another school.

    I doubt there are many coaches out there that would put a player on their team just because they’re a token. The coach’s job is always on the line, what would make it worth it to them to do something like that?

  36. marcinhouston says: Mar 14, 2012 6:33 PM

    Why is tackling key for a potential #4 kicker? I know the starting kicker needs to tackle better but I remember a lot of teams this year that lost games when a backup or suspect kicker missed a chip shot field goal. I do not remember any that lost because the backup kicker tackled poorly. A lot of teams could use an accurate powerful kicker even if they could never kick off or tackle.

  37. Deb says: Mar 14, 2012 6:36 PM

    @drexelvol …

    My comment about changing the rules to accommodate women referred to not requiring them to be part of the runback where a male kicker would be expected to play that role. I wasn’t talking about changing the rules to let her try out. I know there’s no rule against that.

    You’re right about one thing: Although I’ve grown up watching and loving college ball, my true love is the NFL. So in these discussions, I am mentally stuck on that 53-man roster and the idea that you have one kicker who has to play multiple roles.

    No, I don’t think any NCAA coach–certainly not a major SEC coach where the expectations are so high–would put a woman on the roster who couldn’t make the kicks. But I still don’t think football should be co-ed in any capacity unless it can be a real co-ed sport, with women capable of making a genuine run at every position. And that’s never going to happen. I guess it doesn’t hurt anything for her to try out. But it doesn’t seem to serve any real purpose, either. That’s why it just seems like a publicity thing instead of an athlete going out for a team.

  38. drexelvol says: Mar 14, 2012 8:24 PM

    @Deb – I don’t think it’s a publicity stunt at all. It’s been reported that she kicked some 50 yard FGs. If I’m a coach, that’s worth a look to me.

    As far as the rule change for a woman not required to be part of a runback. Well, there are no rules requiring anyone to be part of a runback. The entire team could run off the field if they wanted. I’m sure if any team did anything that extreme, the refs would probably call unsportsmanlike conduct though.

    However, if a coach wanted his kicker, male or female, to kick off then run for the hills, there are no rules preventing that.

  39. Deb says: Mar 14, 2012 9:44 PM

    @drexelvol …

    You’re taking the term “rule change” too literally. I’m talking about changing the way the game is played to accommodate a woman–and one of my arguments is that, if they can’t play it the way it would normally be played, they don’t belong on the team. My other argument is that if the sport can’t be co-ed on the whole, it shouldn’t be co-ed at one position.

    Certainly, the decision on whether a kicker participates in the runback belongs to the coach. In 1979/80, San Diego Chargers kicker Rolf Benirschke suffered a severe intestinal disorder and nearly died. He eventually returned to kick for the Chargers but the coach had him leave the field before the runback to avoid contact. But gender isn’t a handicap.

    It doesn’t matter if these women try out, but the publicity is irritating because it puts kicking for an NCAA team on a par with being the first woman astronaut, or the first woman neurosurgeon, etc., and it’s not. Kicking for an NCAA team doesn’t open a door to more women in the sport because this sport at this level is never going to be co-ed. So the occasional female kicker who might make the team would be nothing more than a novelty.

  40. dcampo3 says: Mar 15, 2012 1:13 PM

    Really people? Did you think she was going to make the team?
    Ill put it this way:
    Would she survive this?

    Its more about a safety issue than a sexiest one.
    Please girls chill out

  41. Deb says: Mar 15, 2012 3:37 PM

    @dcampo3 …

    Exactly.

    FYI … the woman on this thread is on your side.

  42. knicks4life says: Mar 15, 2012 10:05 PM

    I’ll kick u a field goal

  43. pdcooper08 says: Mar 16, 2012 2:37 AM

    How old is she? I was just wondering, wasn’t she born about 20 years ago, I don’t get what tigersgeaux was getting at?

    Who cares if she gets trucked by a ball carrier or blocker or she struggles to be a solid tackler. Most kickers do just kick anyway. They get rolled all the time. If she is an athlete and has heart and desire, she will get herself in position to wrap up on a leg, hold on and wait for help. Just like the male kickers do. If they don’t get there to help, then they also failed to do there jobs, and you can’t blame the kicker on that one.

    Give her a shot coach, she can’t improve her tackling if she isnt in live drills.

  44. tigersgeaux says: Mar 16, 2012 12:54 PM

    pdcooper08: About 20 years ago or so, LSU had an average to poor team, not the national contender it has now and recently. Mo would have been more able to make those lesser teams LSU had during those years, than make it now with the elite kicker, field goal kicker, and punter LSU now enjoys.

    Mo has been working out with the team for some many months now and involved in live drills. That is part of what Miles evaluated her on. He found she was unable to perform to the level of those ahead of her or help the team. He has offered to give her a recommendation to some of his friends and former assistants who now coach teams in and out of Louisiana. They play a little less intently and play a different caliber of opponent than LSU plays in the SEC.

    I understand from her friends, that Mo may well try to get on with one of these other teams that do not have that depth at the kicking positions and do not face the heavy, strong, and fast opposition LSU faces in the SEC.

    Hope that helps and brings a little update to this thread. Have a great day all!

  45. iplaybad says: Mar 16, 2012 5:39 PM

    My bad. I sugar coated the matter.

    It was the coach who said definitively that she CANNOT tackle. It’s not like he doesn’t know anything about excellent special teams. He’s just Les Miles — a coach whose teams’ kicking games are generally near the top of the nation every year.

    “She’s a great person but there’s some things she can’t do and she knows it,” Miles said. “We go to kicking off into the corner, we count on our kicker making some tackles and it’s just not something I’m comfortable she’s ready to do. ****It’s one of those spots you really can’t put a person that cannot tackle.*****” (emphasis added)

    This ain’t intramurals, brother.

  46. pdcooper08 says: Mar 16, 2012 5:53 PM

    @tigersgeaux, thanks for the explanation, and got what you where saying. Good points. I do understand the level is at the highest and even if she could tackle, the speed and strength of a ball carrier could really cause her damage. I like her heart and desire though and wish her well.

    I still believe 90% of the kickers in the country have never actually played on either side of the ball and have only kicked. Meaning there abilities to tackle lack in a big way. Kickers in general are good athletes, can run and move well. So on that note, I guess they are more equipt to handle the pounding they will take when they throw there head and shoulders into a ball carrier running at high speed.

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