Alabama's missed field goal in the fourth quarter of last night's game against the Auburn Tigers was the team's fourth miss of the game. In fact, Alabama did not make a field goal at all during the game. Of course, it was not just another missed field goal. It ended up being returned for 100 yards for a touchdown and an Auburn win in the most unlikeliest turn of events. For me though, I really question that last field goal attempt by Alabama.
Why was backup kicker Adam Griffith attempting the field goal in the fourth quarter instead of starter Cade Foster? Sure, Foster was 0-3 in field goals during the game, but he is the starter for a reason. I think a coach should definitely stick to his best players in order to provide the est chance to win a game. There are many accounts that say Griffith nails 50+ yard field goals during practice, but it's just that; it's only practice. A player can't be judged by what he's done during practice. Practice does not create an environment equal to a tie game with one second left in the fourth quarter against a rival team.
Adam Griffith has only take two field goal attempts this season, hitting one and missing the other. And to top it all off, Griffith is a freshman. It isn't fair to thrust a freshman player into a situation as big as this and expect him to nail a 50-plus yard field goal. It isn't as though Cade Foster missed all three of his field goals either.
Sure, the stats read as zero field goals in three chances for Foster. But he technically only missed one, and that was after a made field goal was canceled by a false start penalty. The other two missed field goals were blocked, so if anyone should be subbed out it's the linemen attempting to protect their kicker. Why punish Foster for two blocked field goals? Why is Griffith taking that kick in the fourth quarter?
Griffith probably felt horrible after the game, and still might not be too happy with his attempted field goal today. However, Griffith is the last person to blame for the loss to Auburn. The linesmen lining up in front of both Griffith and Foster can be blamed quite heavily for Alabama's loss. A penalty added unnecessary pressure to Cade Foster, while lack of strength and coverage led to two blocks for Auburn's field goal defense. It would have been a shame if Griffith would have curled up in the fetal position right in the middle of the field as he felt the massive amount of pressure surrounding the situation in the fourth quarter.Thinking back on it a day later, Alabama may wish it would have happened that way instead.
IMAGE from ESPN: #43 Cade Foster hangs his head with quarterback A.J. McCarron looking on after a missed field goal during a game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Auburn Tigers. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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