College football fans tend to see place-kickers as a point of weakness. To many, field goal specialists are simply walking “YOU HAD ONE JOB!” memes, destined to fail when crunch time rears its ugly head. But if Alabama coach Nick Saban’s opinion holds any weight — spoiler: it does — then we might want to begin thinking of kickers as… assassins.
That’s the mindset Saban wants junior Adam Griffith (0-for-4 on field goals this year) to adopt the next time the Tide needs three points.
“When you’re a kicker, you’ve got to have an assassin’s-type attitude,” Saban told media after practice on Wednesday night. “You’re going to go out there and you’ve got one shot. You’ve got to make it work. If it doesn’t work, you’re going to be in trouble. And that’s the kind of attitude or approach you have to have mentally. That’s what we really need to get back to with him.”
Griffith has struggled mightily since October of last season. He went 5-for-11 down the stretch, and all four of this year’s misses have been inside 50 yards.
According to Saban, Griffith’s issues are between the ears.
“The only thing that we talked to Adam about is, what he needs to do to sort of get in his stride, rhythm,” Saban said. “And have confidence in what he’s doing. When he kicks extra points, he looks confident and does great. I think, mentally, he has to get that same confidence when he’s kicking a field goal.
“We’re trying to help him do that. He really understands what he has to do, like a guy who’s a good golfer understands what he has to do to do it correctly. I think it’s been able to go out there and duplicate that with confidence … we’re not trying to change what he’s doing or how he’s doing it. But just to get him to do it the way he can do it.”
Griffith was touted as a rising star at the beginning of last season, when he went 4-for-4 — including three from 40-49 yards — to provide the cushion in Alabama’s 33-23 opening win over West Virginia.
He missed from 25 and 49 yards this past Saturday against Middle Tennessee State, and has not made a field goal since last Nov. 15 against Mississippi State.
Thank you for all of the support. Now let's go out there and have a good game! Roll Tide!!
— Adam Griffith (@adamgriffith99) September 5, 2015