Tiffin Putting On Finishing Touches

Leigh Tiffin can look forward to one thing about the season-opening game for Alabama. Conditions will be ideal for a kicker--no wind, no rain, temperatures in the 70s, perfect surface -- when the Crimson Tide meets Clemson on August 30 in the GeorgiaDome in Atlanta.

"The dome means great conditions for a kicker," Alabama junior placekicker Leigh Tiffin said after Bama's Wednesday morning practice. "I'm looking forward to it."

Alabama was out in full gear for the second time this year Wednesday and it was the first of a handful of two-a-day practices scheduled for fall camp.

It's understandable that Tiffin would be looking forward to the opener. Last year he had a bit of a slow start, but by the end of the season was one of the most dependable placekickers in the Southeastern Conference. League coaches remembered that when they voted on a pre-season All-SEC team and had Tiffin as the number three placekicker.

"That really doesn't mean anything," Tiffin said. "I've been on both sides (of accolades) as a kicker."

Tiffin had a horrible outing two years ago in Fayetteville, a game Alabama lost in overtime. But he put that game behind him and has been very reliable ever since.

As a sophomore, Tiffin connected on 25 of 34 field goal attempts and was a perfect 36-36 on extra point kicks. His 1.92 field goals per game average placed him second in the SEC and seventh in the nation. His 10 field goals of 40 yards or more was best in the conference and his 25 field goals and 111 points were both single season Crimson Tide records.

It's almost enough to make you forget he's the son of Alabama placekicking legend Van Tiffin. Almost.

"I didn't make them all last season, but I ended up pretty well," Tiffin said.

One problem with Alabama's offense last year was that too often the Crimson Tide failed to score a touchdown when reaching the end zone. Thus, Tiffin's many field goal opportunities.

A kicker's work in practice is different than that of players at other positions. Alabama placekickers work with snapper Brian Selman and punter P.J. Fitzgerald, who is also the holder. "I don't have a lot of interaction with Coach Williams," Tiffin said of Special Teams Coach Bobby Williams. That is not unusual.

"Working with P.J. is good," Tiffin said. "We've worked together a long time and sometimes he'll notice things I don't see. And he's a great holder, too."

Tiffin said there has not been much team kicking in practice. "I've been working on fundamentals, trying to be more consistent, working on timing," he said. "I worked all summer and had a really good summer. Now I'm trying to put the finishing touches on."

He said he had made "huge improvement" in his kickoffs and is more consistent on his field goals.

"Once you get to a certain level, you're going to be fairly consistent," Tiffin said. "You don't have those drastic ups and downs like a developing kicker. I'm more confident now, but I still give it my best."

Tiffin has also observed some of his teammates. He said that freshman Corey Smith, who entered Bama last January, "has a lot of potential. Like all of us, he needs to work. But he's got talent."

Tiffin is also aware of Smith's signing class teammates. "I could tell just by looking at them that it was the number one (recruiting) class in the country," he said.

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