TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — There was a noticeable groan late in the first half of Alabama's A-Day game when kicker Adam Griffith had a 47-yard field-goal attempt blocked by Jonathan Allen.
Griffith, a redshirt sophomore from Calhoun, Ga., also pushed a 30-yard attempt wide left in the first quarter but made a 41-yarder on the final play of the third quarter. His inconsistencies weren't confined to field goals, as Griffith missed an extra point with 21 seconds remaining.
The 5-foot-10, 188-pounder accounted for six points in the White's 17-13 win over the Crimson but missed opportunities for seven more.
"Adam Griffith is a very talented guy, but obviously we would like him to be a little more consistent," coach Nick Saban said. "We have a guy who we recruited that is a very good kicker as well as a punter, and there will be competition in the fall to try to play the guy who has the most consistency."
JK Scott of Denver, who signed with the Crimson Tide in February, was rated the No. 5 kicker nationally by ESPN.
It didn't take long for Griffith's struggles to evoke memories of last season's Iron Bowl, when Alabama went 0-for-4 on field-goal attempts in a 34-28 loss. Cade Foster missed three of those kicks, and Griffith came up short on a 57-yard attempt with one second remaining, which was returned for a 100-yard touchdown by Chris Davis.
Alabama was 12-of-14 on field-goal attempts entering the Auburn game but went 1-of-6 against the Tigers and in the Sugar Bowl loss to Oklahoma.
"Statistically we were first in the SEC in special teams and 12th in field-goal percentage," Saban said, "so it's certainly our goal to be more consistent in that part of our kicking game. Our special teams were very good, but you've got to have special teams and you've got to have specialists who perform on a consistent basis."
Early enrollee Cameron Robinson was the left tackle for the Crimson, which included the first-team offense. Saban has said all spring that Robinson has done well but still has a lot to learn, and after A-Day he was able to offer specifics.
"We throw a screen and he blocks the wrong guy," Saban said. "Because he blocks the wrong guy, the screen gets intercepted and run in for a touchdown. All these things are learning opportunities, but we have been a consistently better offensive line when he's playing."
Saban told The Denver Post for Saturday's editions that he never said he visited with Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and offensive coordinator Adam Gase at the same time earlier this month in practice. Saban added that the two arrived in Tuscaloosa a couple of days apart and that he did not know if they departed together.
Had Saban met simultaneously with Manning and Gase, it could be deemed a violation of the NFL's collective-bargaining agreement that prohibits coaches and players from meeting before teams start their offseason workouts. Saban referenced Manning and Gase as "them" several times when discussing their visits after Thursday's practice, but he told the Denver Post, "This is what happens when people assume."
The situation with Manning and Gase is not unique this month, as Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and head coach Justin Garrett were spotted in owner Jerry Jones' luxury box during the Final Four.
Tailback T.J. Yeldon was named MVP of the A-Day game, while Allen and D.J. Pettway were the linemen of the game. ... Alabama's big award winners for the spring were quarterback Blake Sims and center Ryan Kelly, who won the commitment to excellence, and tight end Brian Vogler and linebacker Denzel Devall, who were recognized for their leadership. ... Cornerback Tony Brown, an early enrollee, intercepted Alec Morris early in the fourth quarter. ... Morris punted for both teams and was needed 15 times.
Contact David Paschall at email@example.com or 423-757-6524.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...