Inconsistency has plagued Alabama's special teams the past two seasons. Whether it's been injuries, mental errors, coaches placing them in poor positions, or just good ole' fashioned screwups, there is no doubt inconsistency, particularly on returns and placekicking, have contributed to Alabama falling short the past two seasons.
Biblical references have stated that "a child shall lead them." (Isaiah 11:6)
The child became none other than 6-foot-5, 195-pound punter JK Scott. As a freshman, Scott feared nothing last season. He pinned opponents' inside the 20-yard line with ease, and gave Alabama's defense an opportunity to generate huge plays - 31 of his 55 punts (56.4 percent) were downed inside opponents' 20-yard line. He is not just a finesse player either; Scott led the nation in punting, averaging 48.0 yards per boot in 2014. He also had 23 punts to go in excess of 50 yards.
In eight games last season, Scott earned Special Teams Player of the Week honors from the Alabama coaching staff. Without his performance against Arkansas, the Crimson Tide would not have escaped with a 14-13 win in Fayetteville.
These were not his only accolades. As a true freshman, Scott was named a finalist for the Ray Guy Award. He earned freshman All-American honors from Sporting News and Football Writers of America Association. ESPN, Sporting News and USA Today all listed him as a first-team All-American.
The theme for this season is plainly "more of that."
Former Alabama placekicker Cade Foster's inconsistencies contributed to the the team losing an opportunity to play for a national championship in 2013. Meanwhile, junior Adam Griffith sustained a stress fracture in his back last season which affected his performance. Griffith connected on just 5 of his last 12 field goal attempts in 2014, after starting a perfect 7-for-7.
When healthy, Adam Griffith is an exceptional kicker. The 5-foot-10, 192-pound junior was listed as the nation's top kicking prospect by 247 sports and Scout.com, prior to enrolling at Alabama in 2012. He was a perfect 5-for-5 on extra-point attempts, and connected on one of three field goals in 2013. Griffith missed one extra-point in 54 tries last season. He made 12-of-19 field goals, but he looks to gain confidence and consistency this fall.
Griffith is usually solid from the middle of the field, but kicking from the hash marks is an area that Griffith needs to improve on. For kickers, consistency usually comes with experience. As a third-year player, it is now Griffith's time to prove why he was so coveted in 2012 coming out of Calhoun, Ga.
Can Griffith put his health, his freshman confidence and consistency together for a special 2015? Alabama does not need him to be perfect, however, the Tide do need to rely on his foot generating points when the offense fails.