'Mindset' is the difference for this season's Power team
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Power kicker Julian Rauch, who has twice kept the team's seven-game winning streak alive with clutch kicks, notices a difference in this year's team that goes beyond the obvious.
“The mindset,” said Rauch, who joined the Power midway through last season's 4-14 disaster.
Rauch said the team has evolved through talented players, who are more mature and professional.
“You see guys come in the door, workout guys, and everybody goes and introduces themselves and says hello. We're looking for help,” he said.
“Last year, (players were thinking), ‘I hope you don't take my spot.'
“Everybody is trying to get better every single day. Last year, it was a challenge just to get to the next day.”
For the Power (10-3), the challenge Friday will be to defeat the Iowa Barnstormers (6-7) at Consol Energy Center and clinch the franchise's first playoff berth.
For Rauch, the challenge is helping the Power toward that end while hoping the NFL notices. Not that he needs the money. Rauch owns and operates an investment real estate company in Charlotte and splits his time each week between the two cities.
But at the age of 28, he still dreams about the NFL.
“No one wants to stay at a lower level when there is another level,” Rauch said.
Meanwhile, he is one of only three AFL kickers who are perfect on field-goal attempts. He has tried only four, but his 23-yarder at the buzzer defeated the Philadelphia Soul, 57-56, last week. And his 27-yard extra point with one second left in Orlando last month — set back after a penalty — beat the Predators, 62-61.
“I'm not a coach who kicks a lot of field goals,” the Power's Ron James said, “but when you have a guy who is as accurate as he is at crunch time, it leads me to kind of think about my philosophy a little bit.”
Rauch is best known for kicking the game-winning field goal for Appalachian State in its historic 34-32 upset of Michigan in 2007.
“Just about everywhere I go, (people) figure out who I am,” he said.
He was with the Steelers in training camp in 2008, but Jeff Reed was the established kicker. Last year, he returned to work out for the Steelers, and he said general manager Kevin Colbert suggested he get some experience in the Arena Football League. The Power called before the end of the season.
Note: Wide receiver Tyrone Goard, who has a team-high 18 touchdowns among his 29 receptions, has a knee injury that doesn't require surgery. He will not play Friday.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kaboly: Steelers fill biggest needs by drafting defensive players
- Bird flu ravaging commercial flocks remains mysterious
- Kennywood Park opening day ends early because of disruptive crowd
- Marathon takes over streets of Pittsburgh
- Santucci repeats as Pittsburgh Marathon winner; Njoroge wins men’s race
- Jeannette man killed in Hempfield crash
- Steelers notebook: Harrison will play fewer snaps this season
- Penn State tight end James, a South Allegheny grad, goes to Steelers in 5th round
- Baltimore mayor lifts curfew 6 days after riots
- Residents return to fire-damaged highrise in Wilkins
- Pirates’ anemic offense fails in extra-inning loss to Cardinals