Cardiac arrest. It is the perfect term for Alabama fans where special teams is concerned.
A three-year struggle has been the case so far, but Saturday night’s game surely aged many fans by at least 20 years. Alabama’s special teams coach Bobby Williams is considered by most of his former players, including punter P.J. Fitzgerald as being “very chill, yet “animated.”
As calm as Williams might be, the Crimson Tide wasn’t poised on special teams to start against Mississippi. Lost fumbles from sophomore receiver ArDarius Stewart and senior running back Kenyan Drake set the Rebels up with a short field. Ole Miss cashed in on both miscues.
Senior cornerback Cyrus Jones is normally sure handed and sound at fielding punts, but even he had trouble. He bobbled one opportunity, but was able to recover the ball.
His second encounter in the fourth quarter resulted in a loss of a yard, pinning Alabama on its own 7-yard line.
JK Scott, Adam Griffith, Michael Nysewander and Tony Brown all represented the good that happened on special teams. Griffith snapped his 0 for 11 slump, by making a 20-yard field goal. He executed a masterful onside kick with 3:06 left in the fourth quarter. The ball traveled 10 yards, it was knocked in the air by ArDarius Stewart and recovered by Brown on UM’s 30.
Scott’s leg was only used twice, but he averaged 42.0 yards per punt. His first boot traveled 49 yards and pinned the Rebels on its own 1-yard line. Nysewander put in a huge tackle on kick coverage for the third game in a row. He’s been solid as a gunner on kickoff coverage
Consistency in all three phases is exactly what Alabama wants, yet special teams has to develop some confidence. Early turnovers kill drives and games against quality competition.
It has been a rough couple of seasons for coach Williams, but Alabama needs to find a solution.