Recruiting special teams & BBall lineup shuffle

One of our regular discussion board contributors directed me to this interesting news: Alabama has already extended an offer to a kicker for 2008. A kicker!

Wow! It seems like forever since Alabama handed out a scholarship to a true Division 1 kicking prospect. (I know it hasn’t been forever, but it just seems like it with our poor special teams play.) According to Special Teams Solutions, a kick coaching/consulting firm, one of its prospects has received interest from Alabama. Corey Smith of Inwood, WV. said Smith “projects as a punter/kickoff specialist.” I guess that means we might get a touchback on kickoffs or something? In a kicking camp as a sophomore, Smith notched punts averaging over 39-yards per kick.

I’m glad to see Alabama focused on special teams. It was a weakness and it needs help. There are a few good kickers available in Alabama if it fails to land the West Virginia star. I’ll write about them in the coming weeks.

Could Alabama’s lineup change this weekend? It’s possible:
Gottfried also previously benched the starters for a three-minute span against Ole Miss on Feb. 10, but said after Wednesday’s game there was no excuse for the lack of effort he was getting from the starters this late in the regular season.

A lineup change this late in the season is interesting from many standpoints. It appears to be an attempt to respond to problems on the basketball team in a way Mike Shula was incapable of doing with the football team. It could pay dividends by ending the lethargic, uninspired play of some of Alabama’s starters. This season, we have yet to see all five of the starting lineup play with passion and focus in a complete game. Perhaps some tinkering with the lineup will get everyone’s attention.

Then again, perhaps it is too late to salvage this season. Of course, this year’s Alabama team receives a “B-” grade from the experts grading the SEC. According to the Morning News (Arkansas), the team would’ve had an “A” with the win over Kentucky and if it could’ve held on against the Vols. Needless to say, I’d have graded the team substantially lower: Probably in the C- range.