ATHENS, Ga. — Alabama and Georgia are not lacking for experienced kickers entering Saturday's showdown inside Sanford Stadium.
Adam Griffith is a redshirt junior with the Crimson Tide and Marshall Morgan a senior with the Bulldogs, but each has seen better days. Griffith enters Saturday 3-for-7 on field-goal attempts this season, while Morgan is 4-for-6.
Griffith, the former standout at Calhoun High School, has connected on his past three attempts after missing his first four.
"We have a lot of confidence in Griffith, and I have always said that," Tide coach Nick Saban in a news conference. "I think that getting his plant foot right is something that he is now doing and has confidence in, so hopefully he will be able to build on the success he's had lately and continue to do a nice job for us in the future.
"He just has to think the right things and focus on the technique that he needs to use to have success. When he does that, he is a very good kicker."
The 5-foot-10, 192-pound Griffith made his first seven field-goal attempts last season, but he missed a 24-yarder Sept. 12 against Middle Tennessee State.
Morgan set a Southeastern Conference record early last season when he made a 20th consecutive field-goal attempt at South Carolina. The 6-3, 194-pounder from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was 38-for-45 as a sophomore and junior but missed 37- and 43-yard attempts against Louisiana-Monroe to open his senior season.
"I didn't hit them well," Morgan said. "I've been working hard, so that wasn't a factor, but I guess I was doing a bunch of reps instead of quality reps. I lowered my rep count and made sure every rep was game-like, even running out on the practice field when we're by ourselves out there."
There has been no shortage of kicking drama in recent Alabama-Georgia games.
Billy Bennett's 32-yard field goal with 38 seconds remaining in the 2002 meeting at Tuscaloosa propelled the Bulldogs to a 27-25 triumph. Georgia's Brandon Coutu missed a 47-yard attempt as regulation time expired in 2007 at Bryant-Denny Stadium, but the Bulldogs overcame that in overtime with a 25-yard touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford to Mikey Henderson to prevail 26-23.
In Alabama's 32-28 win over Georgia in the 2012 SEC title game, the Bulldogs were scrambling for a late touchdown partially due to a missed Morgan attempt, albeit one occurring from 50 yards out.
"I believe in Marshall and his ability to kick off, kick extra points and kick field goals," Georgia coach Mark Richt said this week. "He's very solid fundamentally, and I think he'll finish strong."
Griffith and Morgan will be forever linked as 2012 signees. Griffith was rated the No. 1 kicker nationally by 247Sports.com and No. 2 by Rivals.com, while Morgan was No. 6 and No. 7 for those services.
They are not the only SEC kickers to struggle out of the gate — Tennessee's Aaron Medley is 6-of-10 on field-goal tries after a 2-for-5 start — but Morgan isn't tracking the fate of others.
"I try not to do that," he said. "I did that in high school with recruiting, but now I don't know if anyone is perfect or if anyone has missed. I just wish them all the best."
Odds and ends
Richt said after Wednesday's practice that junior linebacker Reggie Carter (shoulder) is doubtful for Saturday but that freshman cornerback Rico McGraw (knee) is probable. The female who accused Georgia sophomore receiver Isaiah McKenzie of threatening her earlier this week decided not to press charges, so Athens-Clarke County police closed the case. Richt expects McKenzie to play against the Tide. Wednesday in Tuscaloosa, junior defensive end Jonathan Allen (shoulder) and senior safety Jabriel Washington (knee) practiced for a third straight afternoon.
Contact David Paschall at email@example.com or 423-757-6524.