NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Sports

January 5, 2013

Special teams: Notre Dame and Alabama

(Continued)

Crimson Tide principals: K Jeremy Shelley, P Cody Mandell, K Cade Foster.

If the Alabama offense can get within sniffing distance of the end zone, points are almost a virtual lock. Shelley is a mistake-free force inside of 40 yards, and he’s actually a mistake-free force outside of 40 yards — if only because he hasn’t attempted a kick from beyond that distance.

Shelley is 11-for-11 on the season with a long of 38 yards. If the Crimson Tide can make it to the red zone, they’re likely to score. But the apparent “big leg” field goal kicker is Foster, who is 4-of-9 on the season and missed a 49-yarder against Georgia in the SEC title game. Foster is actually 3-of-5 from 50-plus yards, though, with a 52-yarder as his longest.

But in a game where field position may take on great significance, Alabama has a solid weapon in Mandell. His 43.8 yards per punt average should be a top 20 figure nationally — for some reason he’s not listed among the leaders, even with 46 punts to qualify — and he has dropped 17 punts inside the 20.

Put another way: All told, it doesn’t seem as if Alabama is primed for mistakes in this area.

Analysis: Alabama seems in better position to play it safe than does Notre Dame, if that’s the way the game unfolds. Its punter appears more consistent, and its kicker slightly more reliable if the offense sputters in the red zone. But the Irish do have Brindza, who has made kicks under considerable duress. Alabama didn’t attempt a field goal in its biggest victory over LSU, and has missed its last three from 40-plus yards. Consistency edge to Alabama. Pressure-kicking edge to the Irish.

———

©2013 Chicago Tribune

Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

_____

Topics: g000065659,g000362661,g000066164

Text Only | Photo Reprints

NDN Video
3 Questions with Gary Payton: Kevin Love, Andrew Wiggins and Derrick Rose Players Only: Marcus Mariota's Course Load at Oregon How We Almost Got Johnny Cowboy Donald Sterling Loses The Clippers For Good - @TheBuzzeronFox Franklin talks leaving Vandy Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX Michael Jordan OK With LeBron James Wearing No. 23? - @TheBuzzeronFox The Cornhuskers have gone...Loco? McNabb: Two games is not acceptable for me Ortiz, Price Feud Is Upsetting To Children - @TheBuzzeronFOX MLB Trade Deadline Talk: Price, Stanton, Kemp Tony Romo will be a full-go for camp Teammate's Advice For Johnny Manziel & Josh Gordon - @TheBuzzeronFox Helfrich praises Mariota's commitment to improve Hillary Clinton Blamed Bill's Affair With Monica Lewinsky On Abuse He Suffered As A Child Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent First impressions of Giants' new up-tempo offense Athletic Gaines: Where LeSean McCoy, Kenjon Barner, and more prepare for NFL season Jack White's Cub Face How Emmanuel Mudiay Ended Up in China
Special Features