Even from his vantage point, sitting with several hundred other recruits in the University of Alabama student section, Adam Griffith could still feel the pressure of the situation. The ear-splitting crowd noise and the mounting tension with each missed opportunity reminded Griffith, a senior kicker at Calhoun High School and an Alabama commitment, just how stressful his job might be once he joins the Crimson Tide next season.
"I actually closed my eyes in the first half and imagined what it would feel like to be running out there to try one of those field goals," Griffith said. "I'm pretty confident, so I believe I would have made them and helped win that game.
"I'm sure I would be nervous, but it gives me confidence that once I get there I can compete for the starting job right away and hopefully help us win those type games."
Four missed field goals by No. 2 Alabama opened the door for No. 1 LSU to claim a 9-6 overtime win and not only take sole possession of first in the SEC West but also the inside track to a possible national championship.
Junior Jeremy Shelley's 34-yard field goal were the first points of the game, but his 49-yard attempt was blocked. And while Cade Foster made a 46-yard field goal midway through the third quarter for a 6-3 lead, the sophomore missed wide right from 44 and was short and wide right from 50 yards in regulation, and then he missed badly on a 52-yard attempt in overtime.
Rated the nation's No. 2 kicker prospect by Rivals, Griffith committed to Alabama in January, choosing the Crimson Tide over offers from LSU, Vanderbilt and several smaller programs. He has made five field goals of at least 50 yards in the last two seasons, including a long of 55, and has four more from 40-plus.
And while it wasn't his longest kick, Griffith's stock skyrocketed when he drilled a pressure-packed 48-yard attempt in the closing seconds to force overtime in last year's Class AA state title game at the Georgia Dome.
The 5-foot-11, 170-pound Griffith earned the highest rating at the Chris Sailer Top 12 kicking camp in Los Angeles, which is considered the nation's top kicking camp, and Griffith was praised by Sailer on the Scout.com website.
"Adam may be the most talented kicker that I have ever seen," Sailer wrote. "He has a big-time leg, and his field goals come off his foot like a rocket. His kickoffs are tops in the nation. Adam hit one wind-aided kickoff 90-plus yards with 4.40-second hang time. No one can match his talent."
The longest kick Griffith has made during practice was from 69 yards.
"I'm really confident from about 55 yards in, so I would have felt good attempting any of those kicks," Griffith said. "I felt bad for them every time they would miss a kick, and I actually had one guy behind me yelling that they should fire the special teams coach and blaming the kickers for costing them the game.
"That's just part of the job as a kicker. Regardless of the snap and the hold, you take all the blame if the kick misses."
Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 24 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including seven in 2013 and a combined 12 in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers ...