With our recent troubles on special teams and some of the dialogue going back and forth on RBR, I wanted to take this opportunity to look a little closer at the kicking game (specifically PK) and what we need to hope for going into the BCS game.
Going back to the early 80s, Bama had a few kickers bring us some good fortune at PK. Four names which come to mind include Peter Kim, Van Tiffin, Phillip Doyle and Leigh Tiffin. When looking at two year comparisons (the last two years for each player) their stats are as follows (source: www.sports-reference.com):
Peter Kim - yrs: '81 | '82 % made: 75% | 67% pts: 70 | 67
Van Tiffin - yrs: '85 | '86 % made: 67% | 77% pts: 90 | 78
Phillip Doyle - yrs: '89 | '90 % made: 88% | 83% pts: 100 | 97
Leigh Tiffin - yrs: '08 | '09 % made: 69% | 86% pts: 106 | 132
If we compare the above to the first two years of Cade Foster's career, here's where we are to date:
Cade Foster - yrs: '10 | '11 % made: 78% | 22% pts: 28 | 6
For both '10 and '11 Cade had the same number of attempts (9) with dramatically different results.
If we look beyond the stats, IMO there are four primary factors which come into play for kickers: environmental (wind, etc.), strength, technique and psychological.
The psychological and technical aspects of Cade's game seem to be getting the best of him. If all things remain constant, how else can you explain the drop off in attempts made? He's a "long distance" kicker so the distance for his attempts has been fairly constant. Also his strength appears to be the same when comparing '10 to '11 as the guy is huge (which could be part of the problem).
Looking at the technical aspect, his kicking technique needs A LOT of work. For those of you who DVR all of Bama's games go back and look at Cade's follow thru after impact. He punches the ball and doesn't follow through like most soccer style kickers. This may have worked when you have a tee, but you need a follow through to get the carry for long distance kicks. Also, check his misses - most have been to the right (again lack of follow through from not turning the hips enough through impact).
His bulk could be his next biggest hinderance as you need flexibility for the follow through. If this guy squats 600 pounds but can't extend his foot above his shoulders on the follow through - he's toast.
Finally there's psycholigical - the poor guy's confidence is gone. Bama players can say what they want, but his conidence is shot.
What this guy needs is yoga or more stretching to increase flexibility, a technical trainer and a mental conditioning coach. Without that, our best chance to win the game is to pull a Georgia Southern and just go for it on 4th down in long distance situations.
So Cade, if you are reading this: lay off the weights a bit, stretch more and go find an asst. soccer coach who knows the technical aspects of serving accurate long balls.