The name Sarah Fuller took the world by storm last weekend when Vanderbilt Football had announced that she would be the kicker for their matchup against Missouri. Fuller would make history as the first woman to play in a Power 5 Conference football game. No discredit to her but this is a headline that is very misleading as it makes her seem like the first-ever female kicker. There have been multiple other female kickers and punters to suit up for a College Football game. 13 in fact before Sarah Fuller. They talk about Kent State's April Gross and New Mexico's Katie Hnida as the only other two females because they are the only ones who kicked for bowl-eligible schools. I bet that you didn't even know that Liz Heaston was the first woman to score in a college football game when she kicked for 2 extra points for Willamette University in 1997. Female kickers have been somewhat relevant in the past two decades as there have been multiple of them throughout the years. So why is Sarah Fuller so relevant? She just happens to be the first female player to suit up for a Power 5 game, which I agree is another milestone for women kickers. I just hate how the media is portraying her as the first-ever female kicker ever, which is simply false and very disrespectful to Sarah's predecessors. We also did not even get to see if Sarah Fuller is even a good kicker or not. She can literally suck at kicking and is being portrayed as some type of hero when she hasn't even done anything yet.
With that being said many questions have arisen as to if Sarah Fuller was the best option to kick for the team. She was taken in by coach Derek Mason after all of his kickers could not suit up because of Covid-19. Derek Mason says that this was not a publicity stunt and that Fuller was really the best option for the position, but was she though? They say they had a tryout and Vanderbilt believed that she gave the team the best chance to win. Does anyone buy that statement? No, because Vanderbilt fucking sucks and they had no chance to win before the game even started. There was no reason for Vanderbilt to go outside of their football team to get anyone to kick for them. Nevermind a girl who has never even played football before to be the starting kicker for the team. You are telling me that punter Harrison Smith was not capable of doing kickoffs and kicking field goals? Smith had 7 punts and averaged 43 yards a punt with a 53 yard long in the game. If they needed him to kick field goals and do the kickoff, I am sure he would be more than capable of doing it. Many high school punters and kickers did both during high school. However, they clearly went with the publicity stunt and got the starting goalie of the woman's soccer team.
This article is no disrespect to Sarah Fuller because this is not her fault. She was asked to kick for the team and obviously, she said yes. If I was her I would have taken the opportunity too because it is the chance of a lifetime. Do I think she deserved the position? As of right now, no I don't think she did. The only proof I have is her 30-yard pooch kickoff to open the second half. The kick was so brutal that it really raises questions if she was actually the best person available for the job. They had a holder on the kickoff (which never happens unless bad weather) and the ball barely rolled 30 yards until a Missouri player jumped on it before it went out of bounds. Many people have been saying this was a squib kick, but by definition, it was not a squib kick. Anyways, no one squibs to open the half down 21-0. No one does it, it is as simple as that. It was an attempt for a real kickoff and she just failed. Nothing wrong with that she was thrown in there and she tried her best. All the power to her for going out there and trying.
What really caught me off-guard is that she gave a speech in the locker room at halftime. How does the Vanderbilt football team let that happen? An outsider who has been a member of the team for like 2 days is now giving halftime speeches. I think this really speaks volumes about how poor of a football program Vanderbilt has. Kickers never give pregame speeches or speeches at the half. They shut up and kick field goals that is it. Sarah is a goalie in soccer, so naturally, she is definitely a loud person. Goalies in soccer must be very vocal on the field because they have the vision of the entire field. I think Sarah giving a speech at half shows that she is a natural-born leader, but I am very disappointed in Vandy's football team. There's a reason this team is the laughing stock of the SEC and has not won a game yet. To let a person who hasn't played for your team step up and tell everyone what is wrong in the locker room speaks volumes for how poor of a program it is. Like I said no disrespect to Sarah in any of this, but shame on the football team for letting a brand-new player command the room.
Personally, I think this was a desperate attempt for Coach Derek Mason to save his job, and he failed miserably. The Commodores came into the game 0-7 and lost 41-0 to the 3-3 Missouri Tigers. With an 0-8 record, Mason got fired yesterday and he definitely deserved it. Dude got paid $2.5 million a year to go 27-54 and lose the only 2 bowl games he was in. He was a terrible coach for a terrible program. The last time Vanderbilt football was ever talked about was probably when Jay Cutler got drafted in the 1st round in 2006. It's a terrible school with a terrible football program that wanted to create attention for having a terrible football season. Mason thought he could save his job by creating national publicity, but he failed. Mason was still a terrible football coach even if he allowed a girl to play on his football team. However, Vanderbilt got the publicity they wanted because everyone is talking about them and Sarah Fuller.
In the end, everyone at Vanderbilt not named Derek Mason wins! Sarah Fuller wins because it's kinda dope she is playing football and she will probably never have to do anything in her life again. She will probably make commercials and get endorsements for breaking barriers and being symbolic to little girls and women everywhere. The football team wins because they are being talked about on every news outlet and being portrayed as good even though they got fuckin annihilated by a sub-par football team. Vanderbilt University also wins because their school is getting so much publicity worldwide that I would not be surprised if the school applications rise a significant amount from the year before. They pulled off a publicity stunt and benefited from it, it is as simple as that.
The only reason why I am upset about it is that she did not even get an opportunity to kick a field goal. I want to see if she's legit or not. Her kickoff was so bad that I don't even think she can kick the ball over the line of scrimmage. Kicking a soccer ball and kicking a football is not the same thing. So much more goes into kicking a football especially in a live game. The timing of the snap, the hold, the rush, the ball's velocity, the height, the length, you get the gist. Clearly, she was handed the position, but we want to see if she is a fraud or if she is for real. Fuller is getting the nod to kick again on Saturday against #9 Georgia. The Bulldogs are a much better team than Missouri, so Vandy's chances of being in a position to score are even smaller than they were last week. Hopefully, they can string a drive together where it gives the world to see what Sarah Fuller is truly made of. I really hope she proves me wrong and is able to knock a field goal in because that would honestly be cool to see.
Tied Up University Podcast Episode 11 also mentions their takes of Sarah Fuller! Be sure to listen on Apple Music and Spotify!