Chris Birkholz Kicking Football Team to Victory|
October 22, 1998
Charlie Rapier, Student Assistant - Texas Tech Media Relations -
Texas Tech kicker Chris Birkholz is having the season of his life in 1998. Birkholz replaced the injured starter Jaret Greaser, who pulled a his groin against North Texas in the second quarter, and hasn't left the lineup since.
The 6-foot, 175-pound, sophomore from Temple, Texas, has made eight of ten field goals including three of five for more than 40 yards and a long of 46-yards. Birkholz's first attempted field goal in his collegiate career came when he successfully kicked a 45-yard field goal in the second quarter against North Texas. He followed that with a 43-yard field goal as the Red Raiders won the game 30-0. Against Fresno State, he converted twice from 26 and 46-yards.
"You talk about a guy who's come out of nowhere and gone to the front, it's Chris," coach Spike Dykes said after Tech's 34-28 win over the Bulldogs.
This week the No. 25 Red Raiders (6-1, 3-1in the Big12 South) are preparing for their fifth Big 12 Conference game against the eighth-ranked Texas A&M Aggies (6-1, 3-0 in the Big 12 South) in College Station, Texas. Despite last weeks 19-17 loss to currently 18th-ranked Colorado, Tech will have to show stronger defense against an Aggie team that can run the football, and play solid on special teams.
"Kickoff team has to be better. We need to be more consistent with our play by not allowing the Aggies good field position like last week against the Buffaloes. It's hard to stop an offense when they get such good field position," Birkholz said.
Birkholz is a 1996 graduate of Temple High School in Temple, Texas. He didn't play football until his senior year, instead he played soccer. His senior year, Birkholz converted 12-14 field goals and 44 of 45 extra points. In one year, Birkholz was named to the Class 5A All-State first team by the Associated Press Sports Editors, and made all-district. As a soccer player he made first team all-region.
The young kicker began to think about attending Texas Tech at his high school football banquet during the spring of his senior year. Texas Tech coach Spike Dykes was the keynote speaker at the banquet. Birkholz introduced himself to Dykes and told the Red Raider coach that he was thinking of walking on at Tech and several other schools. The next week Birkholz found himself visiting Texas Tech after his short talk with Dykes and the rest is history. Birkholz walked on at Tech during the 1996-97 season and was redshirted. Like former Tech kickers Scott Segrist, Lin Elliott and Tony Rogers, Birkholz is a walk-on with a strong soccer background who has produced measurable results on the playing field. The transition from high school football to a division-I collegiate program was a change for Birkholz.
"The change from a Texas 5A high school program to college was different. The competition level is higher at Tech and the change from kicking off a tee to kicking of the ground was different," Birkholz said.
As a sophomore, Birkholz still has a lot of football left in his career at Texas Tech.
"I just want to keep going out their every week and do my best to help the team in anyway. That is by kicking field goals or making tackles on special teams if needed. As far as next year and the after, I just want to improve in areas, get a lot stronger and have good off-season workouts," Birkholz said.