Foster kicking to new lengths

After struggling last year, Cade Foster's kicking game has finally reached a level of consistency Nick Saban is happy with.

Bring up last season, and Nick Saban along with his players will welcome the topic with an eye roll.

Yeah, Alabama won its 14th national championship last year, but the team is honed in on the here and now and simply just doesn't want to reminisce when there are 2012 goals to be achieved.

Alabama kicker Cade Foster certainly doesn't like talking about last season. Many deem him a reason why Alabama didn't go undefeated in the regular season. He missed three field goals in his team's 9-6 loss to LSU on Nov. 5, which almost cost the Crimson Tide their chance of playing for the national title.

Of course, everything worked out for the Tide in the end, but Foster knew he had some work to do on his kicking game in the offseason.

So he changed up his work ethic, his attitude, his workout program and spent more time with strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran.

"A lot of guys like to get extra time on their own," he said. "I feel like it's what separates the great guys from being average."

Foster, a native of Southlake, Texas, gained Saban's trust in the spring and was ready to shut all doubters up with his improved kicking game in the season opener against Michigan in Cowboys Stadium.

And he did, by nailing a 51-yard field goal in the biggest game of the weekend.

"It felt great, especially being in Cowboys Stadium," he said. "I'm from right down the road and it was really cool. I was a little bit too fired up in my celebration that I forgot to give my guys high fives, I was jumping around out there."

In three games thus far, Foster is 2-for-4 on field goals, all of which have been attempts from 50-plus yards. The two he missed were both 52-yarders. He didn't make a single kick from that range last year.

"I think he's tightened up his technique," Saban said. "He's always had a really strong leg. The struggle has always been consistency. He's kicking field goals better, he's hitting the ball better, even though he's missed a couple long ones, he's made a couple long ones, but the ones he missed were certainly long enough and struck well. He hit the poll one time and barely missed another, so he's improved.

"He has better focus, he's more mature, I think he believes in the benchmarks of things he needs to do to execute well and he's done a really good job for us so far."

In addition to long field goals, Foster has immensely improved his kickoffs. Part of that has to do with the new NCAA rule that moved kickoff attempts up five yards in hopes of diminishing collisions and injuries in the return game.

Last season Foster had a total of five touchbacks. Just in last weekend's game against Arkansas, he had eight.

"I was pretty excited when I heard it," he said. "I knew that regardless of the rule change, I had to improve. If there wouldn't have been a rule change, I still would be doing pretty well.

"There's definitely a mental aspect, seeing yourself closer to the uprights and stuff. You still have guys that were kicking it to the 5 last year, kicking it to the goal line this year. I feel like it's a testament to the work ethic we have here and how the coaches drive us to improve everyday."

Saban said he doesn't have much of a preference on kicking a touchback or trying to pin the ball inside the 5.

"To me, if you kick a touchback, the other team gets the ball on the 25-yard line. That's probably as good to me as taking a chance of them getting a good return against you or you pinning them in closer than that," he said. "So we're just going to let our guys do the best they can to cover every kick and let him kick it and place it where he needs to place it. And if he can kick it in the end zone, we're pleased with that."

Watch Foster discuss his improved kicking game below.




For more Alabama coverage, follow Laken Litman on Twitter!

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For more Alabama coverage, follow Laken Litman on Twitter!\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n","mobileBody":"

Bring up last season, and Nick Saban along with his players will welcome the topic with an eye roll.

Yeah, Alabama won its 14th national championship last year, but the team is honed in on the here and now and simply just doesn't want to reminisce when there are 2012 goals to be achieved.

Alabama kicker Cade Foster certainly doesn't like talking about last season. Many deem him a reason why Alabama didn't go undefeated in the regular season. He missed three field goals in his team's 9-6 loss to LSU on Nov. 5, which almost cost the Crimson Tide their chance of playing for the national title.

Of course, everything worked out for the Tide in the end, but Foster knew he had some work to do on his kicking game in the offseason.

So he changed up his work ethic, his attitude, his workout program and spent more time with strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran.

\"A lot of guys like to get extra time on their own,\" he said. \"I feel like it's what separates the great guys from being average.\"

Foster, a native of Southlake, Texas, gained Saban's trust in the spring and was ready to shut all doubters up with his improved kicking game in the season opener against Michigan in Cowboys Stadium.

And he did, by nailing a 51-yard field goal in the biggest game of the weekend.

\"It felt great, especially being in Cowboys Stadium,\" he said. \"I'm from right down the road and it was really cool. I was a little bit too fired up in my celebration that I forgot to give my guys high fives, I was jumping around out there.\"

In three games thus far, Foster is 2-for-4 on field goals, all of which have been attempts from 50-plus yards. The two he missed were both 52-yarders. He didn't make a single kick from that range last year.

\"I think he's tightened up his technique,\" Saban said. \"He's always had a really strong leg. The struggle has always been consistency. He's kicking field goals better, he's hitting the ball better, even though he's missed a couple long ones, he's made a couple long ones, but the ones he missed were certainly long enough and struck well. He hit the poll one time and barely missed another, so he's improved.

\"He has better focus, he's more mature, I think he believes in the benchmarks of things he needs to do to execute well and he's done a really good job for us so far.\"

In addition to long field goals, Foster has immensely improved his kickoffs. Part of that has to do with the new NCAA rule that moved kickoff attempts up five yards in hopes of diminishing collisions and injuries in the return game.

Last season Foster had a total of five touchbacks. Just in last weekend's game against Arkansas, he had eight.

\"I was pretty excited when I heard it,\" he said. \"I knew that regardless of the rule change, I had to improve. If there wouldn't have been a rule change, I still would be doing pretty well.

\"There's definitely a mental aspect, seeing yourself closer to the uprights and stuff. You still have guys that were kicking it to the 5 last year, kicking it to the goal line this year. I feel like it's a testament to the work ethic we have here and how the coaches drive us to improve everyday.\"

Saban said he doesn't have much of a preference on kicking a touchback or trying to pin the ball inside the 5.

\"To me, if you kick a touchback, the other team gets the ball on the 25-yard line. That's probably as good to me as taking a chance of them getting a good return against you or you pinning them in closer than that,\" he said. \"So we're just going to let our guys do the best they can to cover every kick and let him kick it and place it where he needs to place it. And if he can kick it in the end zone, we're pleased with that.\"

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