Nick Saban Weighs in on Adam Griffith Inconsistency
Depending on the time and place, Nick Saban may not always see the same Adam Griffith.
One Griffith, the one he sees during practices and warmups, looks “as good a kicker as anybody in the country.”
Then there’s the other Griffith, the one who doesn’t always kick as well during games.
And, as Saban has deduced before, it all comes back to the mental side of things more than anything else.
“He’s very, very capable and he’s practiced well,” Saban said during his Monday press conference. “He’s made a lot of good kicks in practice. I think, mentally, you have to have a positive attitude about what you’re doing. You have to believe in it. You have to trust it. You have to think about, ‘What does it take to make this kick?’ And not think about, ‘What’s going to happen if I miss?’”
After last Saturday's 27-14 win over Arkansas, Griffith, the nation’s top-rated kicker in the 2012 class, has now made just 6-of-12 field goal attempts this season.
Against the Razorbacks, Griffith went 2-for-4 on field goal attempts, which included a miss from 25 yards out. (The other miss was a 48-yarder.) He hit a 24-yard kick on his first attempt of the game, then finished out the game with a 35-yard make in the fourth quarter.
The Polish-born kicker from Calhoun, Georgia began the season 0-for-4 on field goal attempts, before making five straight, including his 24-yarder against the Razorbacks, which came on the Crimson Tide’s first offensive series of the game.
“I think a lot of that is eliminating the negatives and focusing on the process of what you have to do to be consistent in what you’re doing,” Saban said. … You have to be able to take it to the game by focusing on the very things that allow you to have the success in practice that you have.”
Griffith, a redshirt junior, has had an up-and-down career at Alabama. In his first full season as a starter in 2014, Griffith made his first seven attempts – including three from 40 yards or longer in the season opener against West Virginia – before making just 5 of his next 12 kicks.
As a redshirt freshman, Griffith went 1-for-3 while splitting time with then-senior Cade Foster. On just his third career attempt, he famously missed a 57-yard field goal attempt against Auburn, which the Tigers returned for the game-winning score.
Last season, though, in the midst of his slump, Griffith did split the uprights from 27 yards out to send the game into overtime, 13-13, with three seconds left at LSU. Alabama later won, 20-13.
Later, in December 2014 during the buildup to Alabama’s College Football Playoff semifinal game against Ohio State at the Sugar Bowl, Griffith revealed he had been dealing with a stress fracture in his lower back for much of the season. Saban previously noted as early as late October that Griffith had an injury, but never went into detail about it.
For his career, Griffith has made 19 of 34 field goal attempts (56 percent). He’s made 84 of 85 extra point attempts, with his lone miss coming in a 34-20 win at Tennessee last season.
No. 10 Alabama plays at No. 9 Texas A&M this Saturday at 2:30 p.m. on CBS.