For as much trouble as the Power has had finding stability at its most prominent position -- quarterback -- this season, the team has had just as much difficulty filling the less-heralded position of kicker.
This week, the Power signed Seth Burkholder, who kicked in college for Division III Bluffton University, to start tonight's game in San Antonio. Burkholder will be the third kicker to start a game for the Power this season and hopes to be the first to find solid footing in the job.
"He's a guy we worked out a couple of weeks ago, and we liked him a lot," Power coach Chris Siegfried said.
The team started the season with former Penn State kicker Collin Wagner as the starter. Wagner made his first two Arena League field goals but missed three April 20 against New Orleans. Before last week's game against Georgia, Wagner quit the team.
The Power then signed kicker Trey Kramer after what Siegfried described as an "unbelievable" workout.
Unfortunately for Siegfried, that workout didn't translate to on-field results. Kramer missed four extra point attempts in the Power's 55-52 loss to Georgia last week.
"It's always difficult to evaluate how you're going to translate a great practice," Siegfried said. "When the lights come on and the pressure's on, that's always a different factor. We never know how guys are going to react in that situation, and that goes for any position."
There were rumblings earlier in the week that the Power might sign Chinese kicker Long Ding, who worked out for the Jacksonville Jaguars after the NFL draft. Siegfried said he had not had any contact with Ding or his agent and hadn't even heard of the kicker until just before his news conference Wednesday afternoon.
Burkholder worked out with the Power earlier in the season when the team was looking to push Wagner in practice.
The kicking game has certainly hurt the Power in recent weeks. Kramer's four missed PATs ended up being the margin of defeat against Georgia, and Wagner missed what would have been a tying field goal as time expired against the VooDoo.
Siegfried, though, said the close defeats ultimately came down to his team still learning how to win and overcoming difficult circumstances within games.
"Not every game's going to go perfectly," he said. "Even if you win by 15 or 20 points, there's still that point whether it's early, middle or late when something bad happens and you have to recover from it."
It should help this week that the Power will, for now, have some sense of stability under center as Bryan Randall will start his third consecutive game at quarterback.
Siegfried said former starter Bill Stull was still a few weeks away from coming back after a shoulder injury, and Andrico Hines still has one more week he must remain on injured reserve.
"Right now it's Bryan Randall's job, and we feel like he's doing a good job," Siegfried said. "We're just not finishing out games."
Sam Werner: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @SWernerPG. First Published May 12, 2012 12:00 AM