Tiffin, Tide Off To Good Start

There's a comment familiar to golfers, that there's no room for pictures on a scorecard. The only thing that goes down is a number. And so it is with field goal attempts.

Alabama junior placekicker Leigh Tiffin connected on four of five in Alabama's 34-10 win over Clemson Saturday night. His first attempt didn't look so hot, but it went 54 yards and through the uprights for a 3-0 Alabama lead. Later in the game he lined up a 52-yard field goal. It was hit well, looked great in the air, but missed by a foot or so to the right.

"I hit the 52-yarder better than the 54-yarder," Tiffin said. "The one I missed just didn't come around. The 54 wasn't hit good, but it looked good to me when I made it. It's important to get off to a good start no matter how long it is."

Tiffin's 54-yard field goal at the end of Alabama's first drive of the night gave the Crimson Tide a 3-0 lead over Clemson, a lead Bama would not surrender in defeating the previously ninth-ranked Tigers.

It was Tiffin's longest and the third longest in Alabama history, trailing his father's (the legendary Van Tiffin) Alabama record 57-yard field goal against Texas A&M in 1985 and Ryan Pflugner's 56-yard field goal against Arkansas in 1988.

That 57 number is significant. Leigh said the coaches make the call, and he thinks that anytime Alabama reaches the 40 he will get the assignment. From the line of scrimmage being the 40, it would be a 57-yard field goal.

Leigh said in Saturday's game in the GeorgiaDome in Atlanta that "I started out pretty well, and I could have done better. It's within my capability to make everything I tried."

He said kicking on the GeorgiaDome artificial turf probably cost him two or three yards in distance because he can't kick through it like he can grass. On the other hand, he said, the artificial turf doesn't get torn up, and there is no wind factor in a dome.

During fall camp, Tiffin had a "tired leg." He said he "took a couple of days off" and the problem was solved.

Tiffin has another job. He is Alabama's kickoff man. Both he and Tide Coach Nick Saban had said in the pre-season that Tiffin was improved as a kickoff man. His goal on the kickoff is "hang time and location," he said. There was one major blip on the second half kickoff when Clemson's C.J. Spiller had a 96-yard touchdown return. Tiffin said the Tide is working to correct the mistakes made on that kickoff.

Alabama, ranked 13th in the nation this week in the Associated Press poll, is preparing for its second game of the year and home opener. Bama will host Tulane at 6 p.m. CDT Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium. It will be Tulane's season-opener.

"We have to keep our head down and keep working," Tiffin said. "We don't want any ULM situations this year." Last year's 7-6 Alabama record included an embarrassing loss to Louisiana-Monroe.

Tiffin said the Crimson Tide is excited. "I think we have a great opportunity to do something good this year," he said.

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