September 13, 2015

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) Alabama is having kicking troubles again, a familiar refrain for a program often loaded on both offense and defense.

The glaring deficiency could haunt the second-ranked Crimson Tide as the schedule toughens, starting Saturday night against No. 15 Mississippi.

Adam Griffith has missed his first four field goal attempts this season, including 24-yard and 49-yard attempts against Middle Tennessee on Saturday.

''When Griff hits the ball, he kicks the ball well,'' coach Nick Saban said after the game with the Blue Raiders. ''I think a lot of these kind of things are mental confidence, psychological disposition. I think he needs to make some kicks.''

Saban seems to be sticking by Griffith, for now.

''We obviously need to get more production there, but we also have confidence in him. We think he can get the job done. There may come a point some time when we give somebody else an opportunity.''

The backup placekicker is punter JK Scott, who has also struggled, especially compared to last season when he led the nation in punting as a freshman.

Griffith's 24-yarder missed wide left to end the first half, and his 49-yarder was well short in the third quarter. It didn't matter much in that game, which Alabama won 37-10.

Griffith is one of very few starting FBS kickers who have yet to make a field goal, with 119 already hitting at least one.

He made his first seven kicks last season and then was 5 of 12 the rest of the way.

Griffith missed two long kicks in last season's 23-17 loss to Ole Miss while hitting a 44-yarder.

It's far from the first time Alabama has had a kicker struggle. In a 2011 overtime loss to LSU, Alabama missed four field goals in a 9-6 loss that looked at the time like it might derail the Tide's national championship hopes.

Cade Foster missed two field goals and had another blocked in the 2013 Auburn game before Griffith's 57-yard attempt was return 109 yards by Chris Davis to win the game.

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