One Kick Away

The first missed kick by Leigh Tiffin in the second half of Alabama's game last week against Arkansas appeared to be a fluke. The second miss - which would have ended the game - was certainly a shock, and the third, an extra point, was certainly not a charm.

After Tiffin missed that extra point in the second overtime, Jamie Christensen began to warm up on the sideline, and on Wednesday Christensen said he was preparing to take the attempt of any additional kicks had Alabama gotten them in the game last Saturday. Unfortunately for Alabama, there were no more opportunities. Arkansas converted a touchdown and the extra point in their half of the second overtime and snuck out of their home stadium with a 24-23 win.

Alabama made Tiffin off limits to the media for interviews this week. He was allowed to do interviews briefly after the game last Saturday. Christensen talked with reporters after practice on Wednesday.

"I was definitely ready to go in," Christensen said. "Things just didn't work out. I was hoping. They told me if we get another chance I was going in."

Christensen said he was able to warm up last Saturday, but that his timing in practice had not been up to his normal standards during the previous week of practice. Last week, he said, it took him 1.4 seconds to get the kick launched. This week his time is 1.3 seconds.

"1.4 is not bad if you get the kick up fast enough," he said. "I missed one today but I made all four yesterday. It's more mental than anything."

Alabama Head Coach Mike Shula said Christensen's timing has gotten better. "I think he's in more of a groove. He's better now than he was last week."

Christensen still has soreness when he overdoes his kicking repetitions in practice, however. He said he was still sore after Wednesday's practice, but that he would take Thursday and Friday off and hope to be ready to go on Saturday against Florida.

"I feel a little better injury wise, but a lot better with the snap, hold and kick," he said. "(I'm sore) especially when I kick two days in a row, it puts a strain on my groin and the abductors. I'm just sore, that's it. A couple of days rest and I'll be fine."

As for being able to kick off but not handle the placements, Christensen echoed what Shula and special teams coordinator Dave Ungerer have said in previous weeks.

"It's completely different kicking motion," Christensen said, noting that a kickoff is more of a straight on style kick for him than the soccer-style placekicking motion.

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