Stuart McNair

Punter JK Scott is back for Alabama, but new placekicker, snapper, holder must be found

This is 14th and last in a series looking at Alabama positions prior to spring practice

Complete special teams work typically is installed in fall practice when the Tide has its full complement of players, although with 16 of the 26 signees in the 2017 class already enrolled and participating in spring practice, it’s conceivable that more progress might be accomplished in the kicking games area in the spring. Nevertheless, this final installment of a series looking at all Alabama positions prior to the start of spring drills looks at the actual specialists — punter, placekicker, snapper.
Special teams has a new coordinator this year in Joe Pannunzio, but ordinarily a coordinator does not coach kickers. Punters and placekickers work with specialist coaches in the off season and the coordinator is primarily responsible for protection and coverage schemes.
Alabama returns its punter in JK Scott, but will be replacing placekicker Adam Griffith, snapper Cole Mazza, and holder Cooper Bateman.
The 6-6, 202-pound Scott has been outstanding in his first three years. Last season he had 64 punts for a 47.2 average with 29 of those kicks over 50 yards. There were 15 fair catches and 12 touchbacks and 25 of his punts went inside the opponents 20.
Throughout his career he has had the ability to flip the field, giving opponents long distances to travel against the Bama defense.
For his career, Scott has punted 189 times for a 46.3 average with a long of 63.
The listed backup punter is Brannon Satterfield, a 6-2, 210-pound junior.
Griffith was good on 21-28 field goals with a long of 48 yards last year and for his career made 57-82 with a long of 55. He was 66-67 on extra point kicks last year and 186-188 for his career.
His backup last year, Andy Pappanastos (5-11, 198, senior), was 1-1 on field goals (33 yards) and 6-6 on extra point kicks. He is the only placekicker listed on the roster, but in the spring there frequently are walk-on punters and placekicker.
Although he will not be participating in spring practice, Alabama is expected to add Joseph Bulovas in fall camp. Alabama had a longtime commitment from Brandon Ruiz, who backed off his pledge in January. Bulovas had been committed to Georgia Tech, but switched to Alabama.
He did not sign in Bama’s signing class, but is expected to arrive for this season.
Scout ranked him the No. 4 kicking prospect in the nation. He was outstanding in the Al-American Bowl with two field goals, including one of 49 yards, and three extra points.
Alabama did sign the nation’s No. 1 snapper in 6-1, 215-pound Thomas Fletcher, who entered The University for the spring semester and will be participating in spring practice. He was ranked the number one long snapper in the Rubio Long Snapping Camp in 2016.
Backups returning from last year are Scott Meyer (6-2, 222, sophomore) and Ryan Parris (6-0, 209, junior).
Alabama wants a “good hands” man as the holder and has often used a quarterback, including the first team quarterback when AJ McCarron was with the Tide.
It is also possible that Scott, listed as the backup last year, could be the holder. The advantage of a punter being the holder is that he can work with the snapper and kicker throughout practice when quarterbacks are involved with the offense.
Alabama spring practice gets underway March 21. The A-Day Game will be April 22.


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