Indiana University’s career field goal record has been shared by two kickers for the past six months.
Griffin Oakes soon will have a chance to do something about it.
The redshirt senior and former walk-on enters this season tied with former Hoosiers kicker Mitch Ewald for the all-time lead with 53 made field goals. He also is tied for third in career extra points (109) and fourth on the program’s all-time scoring list (268).
“Overall, I’ve been happy with the way things have turned out,” said Oakes, a Greenwood Community High School graduate whose 24-yard field goal in the second quarter of its 26-24 loss to Utah in the Foster Farms Bowl tied Ewald’s standard.
“Obviously, there have been ups and downs, but I’ve really tried to not negatively look at bad things that have happened.”
IU legend Anthony Thompson, the program’s record-obliterating running back and 1989 Heisman Trophy runner-up, appears to be untouchable in career scoring at 412 points.
Oakes is on course to conclude his time in Bloomington second in career points. However, should he exceed his exceptional sophomore campaign (125 points) and IU be invited to a third consecutive bowl game, Oakes might give Thompson a legitimate run for the top spot.
But first, Greenwood’s record-holder for longest field goal (50 yards) and field goals in a season (13) is working to get his weight back under 200 pounds by the time the Hoosiers open the season at home against Ohio State on Aug. 31.
Last season, Oakes weighed 218, the heaviest he’s been since arriving at IU. He converted 16 of 26 field-goal attempts (61.5 percent), a significant drop in accuracy after basically being automatic in 2015 (24 of 29, 82.8 percent).
He’s now down to 205 pounds and wants to be 195 when IU hosts the Buckeyes.
Oakes has shed pounds in part by mixing more fruits and vegetables into his diet than ever before. Following summer workout sessions, he sweats out 30 minutes of additional cardio work on a treadmill, Stairmaster or elliptical exercise machine.
“I feel a lot better. My flexibility the way it used to be is starting to come back,” Oakes said. “I kind of want to get back to that 2015 feeling.”
Doing so requires more than a slimmer physique. It requires Oakes having a heightened level of confidence in those surrounding him compared to last season.
“As a sophomore, my holder (punter Erich Toth) was a fifth-year senior, the snapper (Josh Pericht) was very good and I trusted the offensive line to block,” he said. “Last year I found myself distracted too many times.
“We had multiple holders my junior season, but I should’ve felt more confident than I was.”
Drew Conrad, a 2016 Center Grove graduate and one of three candidates to be Indiana’s starting punter this season as a redshirt freshman, is competing against backup quarterback Peyton Ramsey to be Oakes’ holder for field goals and point-after attempts.
No matter how this season plays out, Oakes said he thinks that he’s built enough of a résumé to eventually be seriously considered for a spot on a NFL roster.
“If it was a perfect world, I would love to kick for the Colts,” he said. “Either way, I’m going to put in the effort and see where the cards fall.”
MAKING THEIR POINTS
The career scoring leaders for Indiana University’s football program:
Antwaan Randle El;1998-2001;270