Saban, Teammates Confident In Adam Griffith’s Ability
Blake Sims didn’t actually see the play that sent Alabama into overtime at LSU on Saturday night, but he knew it happened as soon as it ended.
The Alabama quarterback had just driven the Crimson Tide down to the LSU 10-yard line with under a minute remaining and no timeouts, setting up for Adam Griffith’s game-tying field goal attempt with seven seconds remaining.
“I tried to look away,” Sims said. “I try to put the towel over my head and just pray that God gives him the strength to make the field goal.”
As Griffith lined up for the 27-yard attempt, the decibel level in Tiger Stadium rose to well over 100 as indicated by the stadium’s jumbotron, possibly as loud as it had been at any one point in the game.
Then four seconds later, nothing.
“I just heard silence,” Sims said.
The LSU crowd went quiet as Griffith drilled the kick through the uprights, forcing overtime at 13-13. Alabama went on to win the game, 20-13.
“I have all the confidence in the world in Adam Griffith,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “The problem around here is everybody thinks the kicker’s going to make every kick and that’s just not going to happen. It’s not going to happen. But I guess everybody thinks we’re going to win every game, too, but I don’t think that’s always going to happen.”
Earlier in the game, Griffith missed a field goal try from the same distance that would have cut LSU’s lead to 7-3. He later made a 39-yard attempt with nine seconds left in the half to put Alabama up 10-7.
Griffith, the top-rated kicker of the 2012 class, began the season a perfect 7-for-7 in the Crimson Tide’s first three games but has since made only 4-of-9 and missed an extra point against Tennessee. Against LSU, though, he was 2-for-3 and made both extra points.
“Me and him kind of grew up in the same town,” said Sims, who, like Griffith, is from Georgia. “Growing up in high school, I’ve been seeing that kid make big-time kicks since he’s been little and we had nothing but confidence in him. Even though he missed one at the beginning of the game, we knew he was going to come through for us and when he made it, we knew the game was ours.”
As a high school senior in 2011, Griffith kicked a game-winning 32-yard field goal in overtime to lift Calhoun High School past Buford in the Georgia AA State Championship at the Georgia Dome.
“I have all the faith in Griff," wide receiver DeAndrew White said. "Griff’s a great kicker. He doesn’t really disappoint much, so I had all the faith in Griff.”
Griffith will have a chance to raise that level of trust with games against No. 1 Mississippi State and No. 9 Auburn still to be played later this month.
“We have confidence in him, and he obviously showed worthy of that confidence in making big kicks in the last game,” Saban said. “He has been a real warrior for us this year and the way he’s battled through some injuries that’s affected his preparation to some degree. Never complains about it, always is there to kick when we need him in the games.”