Alabama kicker can redeem himself in title game

Alabama kicker Cade Foster (right) missed three field goals in the loss to LSU in November. He has a shot to redeem himself Monday night in the BCS national championship.



NEW ORLEANS — Cade Foster doesn’t sound like a guy discussing his own version of every kicker’s nightmare. Wide right (twice). Then short.

Then his team loses by, of course, a field goal. In overtime.

Foster’s three misses in second-ranked Alabama’s 9-6 loss to No. 1 Louisiana State University have become perhaps the most infamous kicks in a collection of botched boots in big games this season.

There was no escaping a rehash of Foster’s brutal November evening ahead of Monday night’s BCS title game, and the Crimson Tide’s kicker didn’t really try.

His affable, upbeat refrain to a steady succession of questions on the topic: He’s moved on. That’s old news.

“I think the world breaks everyone at some point,” said Foster, a sophomore who was made available to the media for the first time this season at BCS media day. “Some are strong at those points and others are weak. If you’re strong, you’re going to persevere through it. It definitely helped me grow and get mentally stronger.

“Until someone invents a time machine,” he adds, “I’m not going to worry about it because I can’t do anything about it.”

Teammates have stuck up for Foster.

“I think the fans are entitled to their opinion and they can be critical of whatever they want to be critical (of),” Tide center William Vlachos said. “They certainly have been critical of me at times in my career. The way we look at it is, we’re responsible for giving them those 50-something yard kicks. That’s anything but their fault. We’ve got to move the ball when we get close to the 30-yard line.

“We’ve got to put them in better situations.”

It’s scant comfort to Foster, but he’s got plenty of company. This could be called the year of the kicker in college football, and not in a heroic way.

Stanford’s Jordan Williamson missed two kicks – as time expired and in overtime – that could have won the Fiesta Bowl.

“I felt his pain for that one,” Foster said. “He’s a great kicker and he’s going to bounce back from it and be all right.”

Virginia Tech’s third-teamer Jordan Myer made four field goals but missed a 37-yarder in overtime in a Sugar Bowl defeat to Michigan.

Late in the regular season, missed kicks helped damage the still-flourishing national title hopes of Oklahoma State – the beneficiary of Williamson’s mishits – and Boise State.

Few can relate better than Foster.

“This is a rare year,” he said. “I think as teams get better, as recruiting gets stronger, teams are going to be more evenly matched and the role of the kicker is getting magnified.”



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