It’s only spring, but it’s never too early to look ahead to the fall. In the ninth and final installment of a position-by-position breakdown of the Crimson Tide’s 2015 roster heading into spring practice, Tide 99.1 looks at the special teams.

Who’s gone:

-LS MK Taylor (graduated)

-P John Pizzitola (left program)

-KR/PR Christion Jones (graduated/NFL Draft)

Who’s back:

-P JK Scott (sophomore)

-P Adrian Lamothe (senior)

-PK Adam Griffith (redshirt junior)

-PK Gunnar Raborn (sophomore)

-KR/PR Cyrus Jones (senior)

-LS Cole Mazza (junior)

-LS Alex Harrelson (senior)

-HOLD Cooper Bateman (redshirt sophomore)

-HOLD Alec Morris (redshirt junior)

Who’s new:

-KR/PR Chris Black (redshirt junior)

Keep an eye on: Adam Griffith. Due to recent memorable struggles in the kicking game before him, the nation’s No. 1 placekicker coming out of high school hasn’t been given the same patience as some of his other counterparts. As a redshirt freshman in 2013, Griffith famously came up short in his 57-yard field goal that Auburn returned for the winning touchdown in the Iron Bowl, which was the beginning for some critics. Last season, he began the season a perfect 7-for-7 but made only five of his last 12 to end the year. As early as October, coach Nick Saban noted in a game week press conference that Griffith was playing through an undisclosed injury, which Griffith later revealed prior to the Tide’s College Playoff semifinal game as a stress fracture in his lower back. The injury, he said, affected his kicking form. Regardless of injury last season, though, Griffith will be expected to improve in 2015.

Overview: After one of the all-time great seasons as a true freshman punter a year ago, Scott will be the rare star player as far as kickers and punters are concerned. The Denver native was a Ray Guy Award finalist after averaging 48.0 yards per punt on 55 attempts, the top mark in the nation. While many marveled at simply the sheer distance of his booming kicks (his first career punt traveled 62 yards and his season-long went 73 yards), the punts also helped save the Crimson Tide in a few games, most notably its 14-13 win at Arkansas.

Griffith will handle the kicks and potentially the kickoffs, though Scott filled the latter role well during Griffith’s injury issues last season and could also handle the duties. If Griffith’s struggles continue injury or not, Raborn showed he could be a serviceable backup, converting 2-of-3 attempts and 9-of-10 extra points last season.

At long snapper, Mazza, a rising junior, is the probable starter for the third year in a row. His only misfire a year ago came on a punt in the SEC Championship Game against Missouri. Bateman, a quarterback, will likely handle the holding duties on field goals again after no noticeable miscues last season.

With Christion Jones, Alabama’s primary return man the past three seasons, now gone, the Crimson Tide could have a few options for his replacement, though, Cyrus Jones, a part-time returner in his previous three seasons seems to be the most likely choice. Black has never returned a kick or punt in his Tide career but his skillset indicates he may be a good fit. It may also help that he is the favorite to take Christion Jones’ slot receiver job on offense.

Predicted 2015 Post-Spring Depth Chart:


1. JK Scott

2. Adrian Lamothe


1. Cole Mazza

2. Alex Harrelson


1. Adam Griffith

2. Gunnar Raborn


1. Cooper Bateman

2. Alec Morris


1. Adam Griffith

2. JK Scott


1. Cyrus Jones

2. Chris Black


1. Cyrus Jones

2. Chris Black


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