Rounding Out the Year

For Alabama placekicker Jamie Christensen, there could be no better way to end calendar year 2006 than the same way it started. Being the Big Man On Campus after his leg helped Alabama to three wins last season (Texas Tech, Ole Miss and Tennessee) apparently had its advantages in the off-season.

"It's been a lot of fun," Jamie Christensen the junior from Norcross, Georgia said. "I'm not going to go into any details but it's been fun."

It was Christensen's game-winning, last-second 45-yard field goal that gave Alabama its 13-10 win over Texas Tech on January 2, 2006. It was an ugly looking kicking except for the fact that it snuck just above the crossbar and inside the left upright.

"My heart stopped for about the two seconds the ball was in the air," he said, "but that's really the only time I think about it - when someone asks me about it.

The dry spell for Christensen has been in game winning kick opportunities in the current season. After a nice spring and early fall camp for Alabama, Christensen pulled the groin muscle in his leg, which caused him to miss field goal kicking duties in the first five games of the season.

"Me getting hurt, that kind of put a damper on a lot of things but I was just glad I could come back and at least get a little bit of kicking in," he said.

The only opportunity an Alabama placekicker had for what might have been a game-winning kick was taken by freshman Leigh Tiffin, who missed three kicks in short succession in Bama's loss to Arkansas. After his return posted a respectable 12 of 16 in field goals, making all but one of 14 extra point attempts.

"I feel like I've gotten stronger throughout the workouts and everything else," he said. "I feel like I'm more prepared than I have been because I have finally got to get back to 100 per cent with my injury and everything else, and I feel great."

Even though he was consistently good from 50-53 yards in practice before the season began, Christensen's career long field goal in a game was a 46 yarder against Florida International this season.

Reminded that the last time Alabama played in the Independence Bowl the game was decided on a kick missed by inches from Iowa State placekicker Tony Yelk, Christensen, slightly amused, said "Well, I'll be ready. I'll definitely be ready."

He also promised the artificial field turf in place at the Independence Bowl wouldn't be an impediment if he was called upon. "Last time I kicked on that turf was Ole Miss," he said. Another game-winning kick last year on the same style turf in Oxford, Mississippi.

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