In something of a surprise announcement, Alabama fifth-year senior Adam Griffith announced on April 1 that he will be giving up his duties as a kicker on extra points and field goals to concentrate on being an on-side kickoff specialist.
“Coach Saban told me that he thinks the on-side kick is the wave of the future after our national championship game win over Clemson,” Griffith said in his Friday statement. “He said that he was surprised Clemson didn’t try an on-side kick after we did it. Clemson kicked off to Kenyan Drake and he ran it back 95 yards for a touchdown. It was like Clemson didn’t learn anything.”
Griffith said it is his understanding that Alabama will not have any deep kickoffs in 2016, that every kickoff will be an onside kick. Against Clemson, with the score tied, Griffith made a perfect kick, which was snared in mid-air by Bama’s Marlon Humphrey. Alabama went on to a 45-40 victory for the national championship.
The surprising announcement, which did not come through normal athletics department channels, means that Griffith’s average of some 64 yards on kickoffs – over half of his kickoffs being touchbacks last year – will suffer. “I thought a lot about that,” Griffith said. “I mean an on-side kick is only about 10 or 15 yards, so it’s a little unfair to ask me to do that.”
He had done well on extra points (62-62 last year and 120-121 for his career) and field goals (23-33 last year with a long of 55 and 36-55 for his career), but feels he cannot spend time on that with his new duties as kickoff man.
Besides, he reportedly told friends, junior walk-on Gunnar Rabon has made 9-10 extra points and 2-2 field goals and Bama punter JK Scott has made an extra point, though he missed a field goal, and it was announced this week that Andy Pappanastos, 5-11, 194, upcoming junior, is transferrng from Ole Miss, and he has made 8-8 career extra points.
Alabama Coach Nick Saban allegedly said, “This had better be an April Fool joke.”