Good Punt, Do It Again

P.J. Fitzgerald has been the number one punter for the Alabama football team throughout the spring and fall. But the redshirt freshman from Coral Springs, Florida has to improve his consistency this season.

"Last year I came out here trying to kill the ball," he said.

He's shown he can kill it. Even in the first scrimmage at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Monday, Fitzgerald got off a booming 50+ yard punt. But all to often, the answer to the question "How do the punters look" all depends on which kick you happen to see.

"It's just got to be better that two (good punts) of four," Alabama special teams coordinator Dave Ungerer said.

The Crimson Tide third year special teams coach said Fitzgerald had "done okay" in the consistency of his kicks, but its not yet where he wants it to be.

The same should be said for the other two punters on Alabama's roster, Heath Thomas and Adam Hill. Each displays a strong leg, just not a good punt every time.

Every day, Fitzgerald said, his consistency is getting better.

"I found out I need to relax and go through the motion, and the rest will take care of itself," he said.

Said Ungerer, "As far as leg strength, he's got it.

And Alabama needs it. Last year's punting was the worst average by an Alabama punter this century. Jeremy Schatz had a 38.3 yard per punt average. In the five previous season, Bama's leading punter's average has been 40.6 (Bo Freelend), 40.8 (Freelend), 41.5 (Lane Bearen) and 39.6 (Bearden.)

Patrick Morgan average 40.3 yards in 1999, and Daniel Pope had a 43.5 yard per punt average in 1995-98, just 0.1 behind Greg Gantt's Alabama record 43.6 yards per punt in 1971-73.


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