Arizona State kicker Zane Gonzalez wasn’t in the offensive meeting room last season, but he could feel the good vibes Chip Lindsey created during the assistant’s brief stint as the program’s offensive coordinator.
The Sun Devils hired Lindsey to replace Mike Norvell before the program’s bowl game at the end of the 2015 season.
Lindsey, who was announced as Auburn’s offensive coordinator last week, won the locker room over by the team’s appearance in the Cactus Bowl.
“He said it would be easier for him to learn our thing than every other player learn him,” Gonzalez said Tuesday night during media night for the Senior Bowl. “I thought that was huge from his part, looking at the players’ situation, respecting them and going from there.”
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Arizona State maintained the same kind of explosive offense Norvell put together under Lindsey. The team went 4-0 to open the 2016 season averaging more than 48 points a game.
Injuries at the quarterback position slowed the Sun Devils’ offense down, but the offense remained a cohesive unit behind the scenes.
“He is a players’ coach,” Gonzalez said. “Players loved him.”
Gonzalez included himself in that category.
“Really cool guy,” Gonzalez said. “I really enjoyed him, one of my favorite coaches to be around.”
Arizona State’s offensive success set Gonzalez up for an award-winning season. The place kicker connected on 23 of 25 field goals with his misses coming from 50 yards or more. Gonzalez set a record with seven field goals from that range including the longest field goal of the year from 59-yards out.
Gonzalez ended up winning the Lou Groza Award over Georgia Southern’s Younghoe Koo and Auburn’s Daniel Carlson. It was the second straight season Carlson finished as a runner-up for the award.
The kicker hopes Lindsey can help Carlson bring home the same hardware next season.
“He’s going to finish up as one of the great all-time (college) kickers,” Gonzalez said with a smile.