Missed Opportunity

It wasn't a difficult technical analysis. As soon as Alabama Assistant Coach Dave Ungerer got a look at Leigh Tiffin's missed kicks against Arkansas he could see the problem. "He didn't kick through the ball to hit it square," Ungerer said Tuesday.

Alabama Special Teams Coordinator David Ungerer has been impressed with walk-on freshman kicker Leigh Tiffin. "From the first day he was in training camp, if he made a mistake he has been able to come back and correct it," Ungerer said. "It was a technique problem. You look for a finish with the contact, being square in the hips."

When the Tide returned to practice Sunday, Ungerer said they went to work on the problem "like you would with a player at any position where you have to correct a mistake."

He said Tiffin "hit every ball Sunday night."

Ungerer said, "It was hard to take, to say the least." Tiffin missed three field goals and an extra point in Saturday's 24-23 overtime loss to Arkansas. His field goal try with about four minutes to play would have broken the 17-17 tie that sent the game to overtime. His 30-yard attempt on the final play of the first overtime would have won the game. And when he missed an extra point in the second overtime, the Razorbacks were able to take a one-point win by making the extra point.

Ungerer said, "We all feel Leigh is going to be stronger for it, that he'll be a better player for us the next three and a half years."

Tiffin had done well up until the second half Saturday. He had a 47-yard field goal in the fourth quarter that was the difference in beating Vanderbilt, 13-10, and he had a 46-yard field goal as halftime ended in Fayetteville. For the year he is Bama's leading scorer with eight field goals in 13 tries and 10 of 11 extra point kicks for 34 points.

It may be that Tiffin will not be kicking when Alabama takes on Florida in Gainesville Saturday. Kickoff for that game is 2:30 p.m. CDT with television coverage by CBS.

Ungerer said he had Jamie Christensen warm up late in the Arkansas game "in case he was needed. He wanted to go. He's never not wanted to kick. It's just a matter of his health. At this level, every player wants to play."

Christensen, a junior who was Bama's placekicker last year and won three games with last moment field goals, has been limited to kickoff duty since coming back from a pre-season groin injury.

The coach said Christensen "kicked a little Sunday. We'll up his reps today (Tuesday)."

Last year Christensen had final play field goals to beat Ole Miss and Texas Tech in the Cotton Bowl and made a field goal with 13 seconds to play to defeat Tennessee. He finished the year with 16 field goals in 25 attemps and 25 of 26 extra point kicks for 73 points.


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