Competition at kicker is a three-horse race

Jeremy Shelley

Even though Jeremy Shelley made a bowl-record five field goals in last year's national championship game, Alabama has three guys in the running to be this year's place kicker and Nick Saban doesn't have a frontrunner yet.

Last season was a prime example of how important a kicking game is for a team.

In the two juiciest matchups of 2011—the first time Alabama played LSU and the second—the scores were comprised of field goals (and one touchdown in the national championship game).

The past two seasons, senior Jeremy Shelley—who hit a bowl-record five field goals in last year's national title game, scoring 15 of Alabama's 21 points—and junior Cade Foster have shared kicking duties for the most part. This year, Alabama has added freshman Adam Griffith to the mix.

So with just over two weeks until the Tide's first game against Michigan, who is the frontrunner?

"We're giving them all an equal opportunity, whether it's kicking or kickoff and we're evaluating on a daily basis," head coach Nick Saban said. "We really want to be fair and we don't really have any favorites. We just want to evaluate statistically how well they've done throughout camp especially in team situations."

During practice, the coaches chart each kick in length and airtime.

"When this is all over, we'll have to make some determination sometime before the first game how we're going to manage that," Saban said. "Consistency is going to be the key for each one of those guys. Who can be the most consistent performer relative to your role? There's a lot of competition there, and that's probably a good thing."


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